Micro-blogging site Twitter has been launched as a mobile version in Japan in a move to expand its popular online presence, making it the first offering from the website in a foreign language.


Biz Stone, co-founder of Twitter, Inc., is photographed following his keynote speech at the 140: Twitter Conference LA in Los Angeles September 22, 2009. REUTERS/Phil McCarten

Twitter teamed up with Tokyo-based Internet firm Digital Garage Inc. in early 2008.

The 140-character blogging sent then went on to launch a Japanese-language platform for cell phones and other mobile devices in the spring of 2008, and hired a Japan country manager earlier this year.

According to reports, social networking has failed to have the same impact in Japan as it has around the world, with sites such as MySpace and Facebook not attracting the same number of people in the US and UK.

It's an excellent opportunity for us to see where we can go in Asia in general because Japan represents a leading edge, with advanced mobile usage, said Twitter co-founder Biz Stone, who traveled to Tokyo this week for the launch. Mobile is in Twitter's DNA.

The company will roll out the site in Spanish, German, French and Italian over the next few months, Stone added.

Time will tell how Twitter manages to break through to a Japanese audience. Mixi, the country's top social networking site, has 17 million users and is aiming for 30 million within four years.