US-based photo-sharing and social networking website Pinterest has launched the Japanese version of its mildly successful pinboard-style image-driven site and app, 18 months after Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten invested in the brand. The launching has been expected since May, when Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten revealed a US$100-million investment for Pinterest’s global expansion.
The Japanese version of Pinterest has features, aside from the language change, that are only available to this particular version, including a particular a sub-category that specializes in topics of more than 100 hair styles, paper craft and other miscellaneous items. This marks Pinterest’s commitment to not only offer its service in different languages, but localize the content to suit a particular audience. Also for the first time ever, with Japanese Pinterest, a user’s Rakuten login is now available on a non-Rakuten product. Japanese users can log onto the site using Rakuten login details via Rakuten Connect, the e-commerce giant’s version of Facebook Connect, giving users access to Rakuten’s online store and other services. Rakuten has 80 million members, compared to Pinterest’s current base of 70 million users.
Pinterest’s new Japanese site comes after the site launched its other new global communities in the UK, France and Italy. Pinterest says that it plans to launch in at least 9 more countries by the end of 2013. Last year, Rakuten CEO Hiroshi Mikitani said that his company made its investment in Pinterest because he had developed a strong relationship with its founder Ben Silbermann. Rakuten’s stake in Pinterest also fits into its ongoing strategy of investing in U.S. e-commerce startups. In 2013 alone, it has helped fund Slice, a company that organizes commerce data by tapping into your inbox; Apcera, an enterprise IT platform; retail marketplace Daily Grommet; and luxury retail site AHAlife. These investments were made with a view of expanding Rakuten’s e-commerce business outside of Asia and make it a stronger competitor against Amazon.
[via The Next Web]