With all due respect to Google+, the biggest social networking phenomenon and success story in the last 12 months is Pinterest. Over the past year, the site which allows users to upload, share, comment and organize photos has quickly grown to become the most popular image-based social networking service.
And while most of Pinterest unprecedented insanely growth was driven from the U.S., the company’s appetite for more global audiences has awaken. Pinterest’s international hunger led the company to the embracing hands of the Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten, which was the main investor on Pinterest’s latest funding round that granted it a $1.5 billion price tag.
Now, Rakuten begins to feed Pinterest’s abroad starve directly from the Japanese company mouth. Rakuten issued a press release where it announced on the integration of Pinterest’s social sharing “Pin It” button in three of Rakuten’s web properties which are mainly popular in Japan and Asia:
- Rakuten Ichiba– Japan’s largest shopping site, very popular in all of Asia and available on five languages (including English).
- Rakuten Travel– A booking site for hotels in Asia, available in six languages (including English).
- Rakuten Recipe– Food recipes site, available only in Japanese.
Rakuten also adds that more integrations of the “Pin It” button into the company’s international web properties (the company operates in nearly 20 global markets) are planned in the future, with a stress on the Japanese market:
Rakuten and Pinterest will further enhance their alliance in the future, with plans to accelerate the rollout of Pinterest’s services in Japan.
Although this is definitely Pinterest biggest global expansion move so far, it isn’t its first effort to approach users outside of the U.S. Last month, the social networking company begun offering a translated Spanish edition of the site designated for users from Latin-America.
With this latest Pinterest-Rakuten collaboration effort and the future intentions for further expansion, Pinterest can certainly become a much more dominant social networking player worldwide where the Asian market in particular is being currently targeted.
Finally, this “Pin It” button integration (especially with Rakuten Ichiba) is deepening the connection between Pinterest and the e-commerce industry. It’s pretty safe to assume that Pinterest would only tie-up its association to e-commerce furthermore in the future as most of Rakuten’s properties are e-commercial in their essence.