OpenID: Successful in Japan

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When talking or writing about technology and the web most of us have a very narrow view on what’s going on in the world. We only seem to notice what is happening in the Western hemisphere, sometimes even only focusing on the US. For example most people don’t know the biggest social networking sites in Asia and that some of them are even bigger than Facebook.

The same applies for OpenID. Mostly unnoticed from tech bogs OpenID has become quite popular in Japan. The OpenID Foundation Japan lists some fairly popular companies from all kinds of industries among its corporate members, a total of 41 members. Companies include: Oki, Hitachi, airline JAL, NEC, credit card company JCB, but also social networks like Mixi. While not all those companies have implemented OpenID yet, I think it is great to have support from such industry heavy-weights.

But not only industry support of OpenID is growing in Japan. Consumers know about and use OpenID. According to the chart below – lifted from a presentation by Nat Sakimura who is also a member of the OpenID Foundation Board – 28% of Japanese consumers know about OpenID and 15% are actually using it.

Consumer Adoption of OpenID in Japan
Consumer Adoption of OpenID in Japan

While adoption could be bigger, I think these numbers are quite impressive as they show a rapid growth (usage numbers for August are missing in the chart, though). Those numbers are also supported by another fairly interesting aspect: OpenID ranks number three of the biggest IT buzz words in Japan, higher than Firefox and Google Chrome.

Since Nat Sakimura is elected as a community member of the OpenID Foundation board, I hope he can help making OpenID successful in the rest of the world as well.

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