Star-struck Japan PM befriends Facebook's Zuckerberg

TOKYO Thu Mar 29, 2012 5:15pm IST

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg (L) shares a light hearted moment with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda in front of a monitor displaying a Facebook page of the Prime Minister's Office of Japan, as they meet at the latter's official residence in Tokyo March 29, 2012. REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg (L) shares a light hearted moment with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda in front of a monitor displaying a Facebook page of the Prime Minister's Office of Japan, as they meet at the latter's official residence in Tokyo March 29, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Yuriko Nakao

Related Topics

Stocks

   

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda frequently entertains dignitaries from all over the world, but he was a touch star-struck on Thursday when he hosted a young billionaire with a whiff of celebrity: Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg.

As cabinet ministers filed through Noda's residence for a late afternoon meeting, it was Zuckerberg who drew a fusillade of camera flashes from a hefty media contingent as he strode through the entrance like a movie star.

"It's a funny feeling to see you here because I watched the film," Noda told Zuckerberg, referring to "The Social Network" - which did not portray the Facebook co-founder in the most flattering aspect.

"Very different," laughed the 27-year-old, dressed smartly for the occasion in a grey suit and blue tie.

Noda thanked Zuckerberg for the contribution social media made to communication after last year's earthquake and tsunami, while Zuckerberg emphasised Facebook's commitment to Japan, where the company has enjoyed a recent surge in users.

"Japan's the only country in the world outside the U.S. where we have an engineering office because we're really committed to making a really good product here," Zuckerberg said.

Zuckerberg, who was reportedly on vacation in China before swinging by Japan, was set to make an appearance at Mobile Hack Tokyo, an event for mobile developers to meet with Facebook's developer relations team.

Facebook got off to a slow start after it founded its Japanese-language service nearly four years ago, lagging domestic rivals like Mixi (2121.T) where users in privacy-minded Japan log on under an alias, or "handle name."

But it has doubled the number of its users in Japan after last year's disaster, appealing to people who want to keep in touch with loved ones as well as those seeking a more international reach.

"With more than 10 million people on Facebook in Japan, a robust developer community, and a sophisticated mobile market, Japan is an important country for Facebook," Facebook spokeswoman Debbie Frost told Reuters.

In February, Facebook launched a "Disaster Message Board" in Japan that enables people to easily let each other know how they are during emergencies, and to search for friends. Facebook may consider rolling out the service in other countries.

Facebook's Japanese service also allows users to show their blood type, which many people in Japan believe helps determine one's personality.

Facebook, the world's No.1 social networking service with more than 845 million users, plans to raise $5 billion in an offering in May that could value the company at up to $100 billion. That would make the it the biggest IPO in Silicon Valley history.

(Editing by Daniel Magnowski)

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared
A staff of a China Mobile shop explains a function of the iPhone 5s to a customer in Beijing January 17, 2014. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon/Files

Apple revenue lags Street's view despite strong China growth

Apple posted a smaller-than-expected 6 percent rise in quarterly revenue on Tuesday, but revenue surged 28 percent in greater China despite stiff competition in its third-largest market.  Full Article 

TECH SHOWCASE

Privacy Lawsuit

Privacy Lawsuit

Google must face U.S. privacy lawsuit over commingled user data.  Full Article 

New Launch

New Launch

China's Xiaomi announces latest flagship Mi 4 smartphone.  Full Article 

Class Action

Class Action

Google must face class action over kids' in-apps purchases.  Full Article 

Black Hat Conference

Black Hat Conference

Talk on cracking Internet anonymity service Tor canceled.  Full Article 

Nano-Printing

Nano-Printing

Monet masterpiece shrunk down to the size of dust mite.  Video 

Management Changes

Management Changes

BlackBerry names ex-Sybase executive as chief operating officer.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage