Given the US economy is tanking right now, I wonder if there is not a wider trend for European startups to start thinking about Asia as a more viable place to make deals and potential exits. Certainly TechCrunch has been speculating on whether China is now the place to look to, for instance. So with that in mind news reaches me that Jimdo, a German startup with an easy to use online-website creator with social features, has announced an exclusive agreement with KDDI Web Communications, a subsidiary of Japan’s 2nd largest telecommunication corporation KDDI, to launch a Japanese Jimdo version. The site will offer Jimdo’s website creator for business clients on a hosting platform.
Jimdo wisely paid particular attention to internationalising its product and Japanese is the eighth language it’s incorporated and the second East Asian localisation. Jimdo’s partner in China, the consulting firm Web2Asia, has managed the Chinese portal and provided local support for Chinese users since July 2007.
The aim is to get 300,000 new Japanese users within the first twelve months. And it’s a ripe market. Although Internet adoption rates in Japan exceed 70% only about 12% of all businesses have their own web domains according to KDDI itself.
Jimdo co-founders Matthias Henze, Christian Springub and Fridtjof Detzner must be pretty pleased right now to have landed such a big fish having built the company in on an old farmhouse. They had a consulting firm NorthClick which built the Jimdo platform, but, in the familiar classic story of many web startups, frequent requests from friends gave the founders the idea to offer free “Jimdo-Pages”. The Samwer Brothers invested in the web startup and the rest as they say is history.