Pinterest expands internationally, launches in Japan

Pinterest not just reproducing the same site in a new language, but is catering to the culture

Technology trends and news by Steven Loeb
November 12, 2013
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With Pinterest recently deciding to start showing ads, it was perhaps inevitable that the company would look to new swaths of users. After all, I think its safe to say that the company has eyes on an inevitable IPO, so it better start courting as many users as it can now.

The company recently launched in the United Kingdom, France and Italy, and now Pinterest has decided that its next international stop will be Japan, it was revealed in a blog post. The site went live on Monday.

"Today we're very excited to announce that our localized version of Pinterest Japan is available!" the company wrote.

"In addition to translating Pinterest, we've improved Japanese language search and added several unique features just for Japanese Pinners."

These features include sub-categories that only exist on the Japanese site, including topics on more than 100 different hair styles, paper crafts and miscellaneous goods. 

These categories, the company said, show that the company is not just recreating the same service in different languages, but is actually catering it to each specific culture. Pinterest even surveyed Japanese people to see what they would like to get out of the site.

"We believe as represented in food culture and fashion, and culture of Japan with unique aesthetics and art design," said Pinterest. "So, to start the service in Japan, was that very emotional for us."

The company's debut in Japan comes after Pinterest raised a $100 million round, which was led by Japanese commerce site Rakuten. 

And you should expect even more countries to be added to the list very soon.

Pinterest recently closed a $225 million round of funding, led by Fidelity Investments, along with Andreessen Horowitz, FirstMark Capital, Bessemer Venture Partners and Valiant Capital Management. The new round valued the company at $3.8 billion.

When asked what the company was going to do with the money, co-founder and CEO Ben Silbermanntold AllThingsD, "International expansion that builds on 125% international growth since the beginning of the year. Pinterest recently launched in UK, France and Italy and plans to launch in 10 more countries before the end of the year."

So that is one down, nine more to go. 

San Francisco-based Pinterest was launched in March 2010. The company has raised a total of $565 million since then, but it is still not profitable. Silbermann also said that the money would go toward the "continued development of monetization, which first began testing earlier this month, into a global program."

By that he is referring to Pinterest's newly launched ad model.

The company announced in September that it would begin showing ads in certain pins, before beginning to roll them out in October.

Promoted Pins work the same as any other type of pin, except they have a label at the bottom that denoted that they are "promoted." It also contains a link to learn more about what that means.

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