by CIO Staff

Japanese Version of MySpace Launched

Nov 06, 20063 mins
Relationship Building

News Corp. launched a Japanese version of its MySpace social networking service Monday.

The site, which has grown to become one of the most popular destinations on the English-language Internet, is already available in national versions for Australia, France, Germany, Ireland and the United Kingdom. The Japanese service becomes the sixth national version and fourth language version of the service.

The site is up and running in Japanese, but at the time of this report it displayed a message telling users that it is still in test operation.

MySpace Japan will be operated as a joint venture between News Corp. and Softbank, according to a report in the Monday-morning edition of the Nihon Keizai Shimbun newspaper. The two companies did not offer any comment on the newspaper report. Softbank is a large Internet and communications conglomerate in Japan whose operations include Yahoo Japan, number-three cell phone operator Softbank Mobile and the Yahoo BB broadband provider.

Speaking on Monday evening in Tokyo, Rupert Murdoch, chief executive of News Corp., said he hopes to strike a deal with Softbank CEO Masayoshi Son.

“Mr. Son and I are old friends, and I look forward to seeing him,” he said. Murdoch was speaking after a seminar at which he delivered a speech. “If we do anything with him, which I hope we will, in new media it certainly won’t be on an exclusive basis. We are friends. We will do things together here or in other parts of the world I’m sure, but not to the exclusion of other things.”

Murdoch added, “We like the idea when we come to countries, particularly in Asia, of joint ventures.”

The service will go up against a number of competitors, chief of which is Mixi, which claims about 6 million members. The company behind the site, Mixi, debuted on the Tokyo Stock Exchange in mid-September. Shares were priced at 1.55 million yen (US$13,166) and ended their first full day of trading at more than double that price. The price has come down since then, but is still above the IPO price. On Monday they closed at 2.14 million yen.

-Martyn Williams, IDG News Service (Tokyo Bureau)

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