LinkedIn launched its online professional networking service in Japanese on Thursday, the first Asian language platform for the company with plans to expand even more in the region.
Arvind Rajan, head of LinkedIn’s Asia operations, told ABC News that Japan is key market for the company because of its technologically sophisticated work force. LinkedIn hopes that the lessons learned in Japan will ultimately translate into new offerings for the rest of the world.
Reportedly, the professional networking service has nearly 120 million members worldwide, with 20 million in Asia and the South Pacific. “As we think about the region as a whole, we see tremendous opportunities for growth,” Rajan told The Associated Press in Tokyo. “Our penetration levels in Asia, except for those English-speaking countries, are still relatively low.”
At this point, LinkedIn is not concentrating on revenue in Japan, but aims to expand its membership and will modify the service to fit local needs. The company wants to build a successful membership in Japan, and then advertisers will use LinkedIn.
But Japan has a different work ethnic than in the West. Majority of the Japanese tend to say at one company for a long time, and it is a work force that tends to avoid personal branding or building a professional online identity.
LinkedIn built special tutorial pages to teach Japanese members how to use the site. It also introduces core LinkedIn concepts that may be unfamiliar in Japan such as connecting and the value of a professional network.
“There’s a lot more education that we’re going to need to do,” Rajan told ABC News. “That’s on us to really figure out how to do that.”