Online news source BuzzFeed has brought its blend of the novel, quirky and trivial to Japan, launching a Japanese-language service that targets a nation addicted to smartphones.
At a news conference in Tokyo on Wednesday, the company’s new Japan unit said it hoped to become known as a source of compelling content, both entertaining and serious, and planned to disseminate news from Japan overseas.
Ben Smith, BuzzFeed editor-in-chief, expressed excitement with the venture, saying he looks forward to “taking interesting things that our journalists are doing elsewhere to Japan, and taking the great stories that the BuzzFeed Japan team has started to tell . . . around the globe.”
Founded in 2006, BuzzFeed has grown into a behemoth that has 200 million users worldwide every month. It started out with a reputation for light, fun content, but has been putting a focus on hard news as well in recent years.
Whether they are serious or funny, the stories the firm focuses on are those that make people want to click the share button on social media such as Facebook, Twitter or YouTube.
BuzzFeed Japan, which officially launched on Tuesday, will be following that style and has been hiring reporters and editors from Japanese media such as newspapers and online news providers.
Daisuke Furuta, a former Asahi Shimbun reporter who is BuzzFeed Japan’s founding editor, said the service planned to become a “fun” and “reliable” source of information.
Furuta added, BuzzFeed Japan also aimed to share news from Japan with readers overseas. Selected items will be translated and posted on BuzzFeed’s foreign services.
Whether BuzzFeed will secure the following it seeks among Japanese Internet users remains unclear, but the firm has a strong Japanese partner: Yahoo Japan.
BuzzFeed Japan is a joint venture between the two and was established last August. BuzzFeed owns a 51 percent stake, while Yahoo Japan has the rest.
Yahoo Japan operates the nation’s leading online news service, Yahoo Japan News, and will be sharing content with BuzzFeed Japan, it said.
One reason why Yahoo Japan has teamed up with BuzzFeed is because Yahoo Japan wants to have multiple news platforms.