Facebook traffic jumps in Japan but it still lags Mixi

The world's biggest social-networking site remains far behind in Japan

Facebook has seen an almost fourfold increase in the number of visitors to its Web site from Japan in the last year but the site still lags far behind market-leader Mixi, according to data released on Thursday by NetRatings Japan.

In November 1.39 million unique visitors accessed the Facebook site, up from just 355,000 visitors in November last year, said NetRatings. Growth has been trending upwards throughout the year but became stronger three months ago when monthly visitors were at the 767,000 mark. The figures are extrapolated from data gathered from a panel of several thousand users in offices and homes.

Despite the better results Facebook remains a long way from Mixi, which has dominated the social networking market in Japan since it launched in 2004.

Mixi has 9.2 million unique visitors per month on its PC Web site giving it a reach of 15 percent of the Japanese online population. Facebook's most recent figures give it a 2 percent reach.

Users also access Mixi more frequently and spend more time there. In November the average user visited Mixi 18 times and spent four-and-a-half hours on the site whereas the average Facebook visitor in Japan connected just three times and spent 36 minutes on the site, according to the data.

Despite its later start in Japan and lower brand awareness Facebook could be poised to play a larger part in the Japanese social networking market, said NetRatings. A lot of its success will depend on if it decides to make Japan a target market during 2010.

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Martyn Williams

IDG News Service
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