It’s sometimes easy to forget or discount how social media is being adopted so rapidly in other countries.
In Japan, the early adoption of iMode as a standardized mobile web experience was largely due to the control that the national carrier NTT DoCoMo had over Japanese mobile handset design. What was a uniquely Japanese experience didn’t translate to other markets but today DoCoMo’s influence is coming under multiple threats – not least because the Japanese consumer is attracted to either an Apple iPhone or Google Android flavor of the mobile web.
The impact isn’t just that consumers in Japan are starting to adopt a western mobile experience, its also that they are being exposed to and rapidly embracing what could now be regarded as a global mobile experience.
The globalization of the mobile experience is continuing with the recent announcement by Facebook that it is bringing Facebook Places to Japan, the second market after USA.
And another clue this is really taking hold: When I was in Tokyo earlier this summer, I displayed a LocaModa Foursquare screen showing activity in Shibuya Station. I was surprised to see that Shibuya had over 65,000 checkins. (Grand Central Station has 58,000 checkins – and that’s much closer to the epicenter of Foursuare’s home turf!) Tristan Walker, biz dev honcho at Foursquare tells me Shibuya has the most checkins of all Foursquare locations. Amazing.
One takeaway is that companies leveraging social media now have a platform to connect globally.