Home  › Media › Mobile
mobage

The Big Thing in Japan: Mobile SNS and Games

  |  October 7, 2011   |  Comments   |  

An overview of mobile SNS sites Gree and Mobage in Japan.

If you have traveled in Japan to a big city like Tokyo, you will find that everyone is text messaging or playing games. Japan's mobile phone penetration rate is about 87.7 percent. Considering there are minors and seniors as a denominator, the market perspective penetration rate must be over 100 percent.

According to the Telecommunication Carriers Association, there are 122.4 million mobile subscribers as of August 2011, dominated by three carriers: Docomo (58.8 million), AU (33.5 million) and Softbank (26.6 million) that make up 97.1 percent of the market.

TCA also said 97.2 percent of phones in Japan have 3G or higher Internet connection. About half of the new phones sold are smartphones (45.5 percent) in this second quarter of 2011; Android accounts for 2.7 million and iPhone, 990,000. In short, everyone has phones that can access to SNS easily and the smartphone market is growing rapidly in Japan.

In this big mobile phone sector, two SNS platform providers Gree and Mobage are dominating the market. They represent SNS businesses that differ from others outside of Japan. They are virtual (members do not use real name or real identities) and social interaction happens inside of the virtual gaming world.

  • Gree counts 123.6 million members worldwide. It released more than 6,500 smartphone applications, makes 18.4 billion JPY quarterly by selling virtual items for games, and 2.8 billion JPY quarterly sales from advertisement within their SNS.
  • Mobage counts 29.7 million members (an increase of 9.78 million in 12 months), makes 31.1 billion JPY every quarter from its SNS business.

According to CNN, Facebook projects US$600 million virtual currency sales in the next 12 months with 800 million users. In contrast, Gree and Mobage are projected to make US$2.6 billion virtual currency sales in the next 12 months with 126 million users. The mobile SNS is highly monetised in Japan.

As most of my articles are related to search, I try to look for a connection between mobile SNS and search in Japan. However, the nature of the business models prohibits having a real life social impact hence almost no impact in search. What happens in Japan's mobile SNS stays within mobile SNS, inside of its well monetised platforms.

Other SNS like Mixi, Facebook, and Google+ also are growing along with smartphone sales. In my next article, I will write and focus on other SNS that have impact with real life interactions.

Subscribe to ClickZ Asia to receive your weekly dose of the region's latest trends, tips, and insights straight to your inbox.

ClickZ Live Chicago Learn Digital Marketing Insights From Leading Brands!
ClickZ Live Chicago (Nov 3-6) will deliver over 50 sessions across 10 individual tracks, including Data-Driven Marketing, Social, Mobile, Display, Search and Email. Check out the full agenda, or register and attend one of the best ClickZ events yet!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Shohei  Shimoda

Sho is a global digital marketing professional at iREP, a leading digital marketing agency in Japan. He has worked and led international startup companies in the USA, China, and Japan for the past eight years. His background makes him an ideal global marketing person, understanding the nuances of the business' cultural differences by regions. Among all skills and knowledge, he specialises in marketing and monetising online services and products, and of course - search engine marketing.

COMMENTSCommenting policy

comments powered by Disqus

Get ClickZ Media newsletters delivered right to your inbox. Subscribe today!

COMMENTS

UPCOMING EVENTS

UPCOMING TRAINING

Featured White Papers

Google My Business Listings Demystified

Google My Business Listings Demystified
To help brands control how they appear online, Google has developed a new offering: Google My Business Locations. This whitepaper helps marketers understand how to use this powerful new tool.

5 Ways to Personalize Beyond the Subject Line

5 Ways to Personalize Beyond the Subject Line
82 percent of shoppers say they would buy more items from a brand if the emails they sent were more personalized. This white paper offer five tactics that will personalize your email beyond the subject line and drive real business growth.

WEBINARS

    Information currently unavailable

Resources

Jobs