Facebook Launches Places in Japan

Facebook has officially launched its location service Places in Japan. Only 1.1% of Japan’s population  is on Facebook, but the user base has grown 21.6% in the last 3 months. Facebook may have chosen Japan as the first country outside the U.S. to gain access to Places to further spur this growth. It could also be because the country has sophisticated mobile phones able to access Places, and Japan has been quick to adopt both the iPhone and Foursquare.

Those in Japan with the Facebook for iPhone app or a mobile browser which can access touch.facebook.com will now be able to check in to Places and see where their friends are. The Japanese have historically been seen as aggressive early adopters of new technology, making the country a good fit for the relatively complicated Facebook feature.

Despite Facebook trying to keep Places exclusive the the United States, industrious users found a way to access it through U.S.-hosted VPN accounts. Now Facebook seems ready to roll Places out to new countries, but only those savvy enough to fully embrace it.

[The stats from this article are excerpted from Inside Facebook Gold, our membership service tracking Facebook’s business and growth around the world. Click here to learn more about our complete data and analysis offering.]