Business / Corporate

Instagram's first overseas development team to set up shop in Tokyo

Kyodo

The head of Instagram says its first development team outside the United States will set up shop in Tokyo this summer to bolster the photo- and video-sharing platform’s services and functions.

Instagram, a subsidiary of Facebook Inc., aims to strengthen the design and quality of its services by setting up a new team in Japan, where users have sometimes helped create new ways to use the platform, Adam Mosseri said Friday.

“Japan was a unique opportunity given how much growth we had here, given how important the market is for the business and given how unique Japan is, culturally, economically … that we thought it was worth the risk,” Mosseri said at a news conference marking his first trip to the country since he took the helm in October.

Active Instagram accounts in Japan more than tripled to 29 million as of last September from 8.1 million in June 2015, according to Instagram, which was launched in 2010.

The new team will have about 10 members at the beginning, led by Ian Spalter, head of the design division, and add more later.

Mosseri said Instagram can help athletes in all kinds of sports entice more fans ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Instagram held a seminar in Tokyo on Thursday with the Japan Hockey Association and advised the members of the national field hockey team about how to effectively use the platform to communicate with fans and show them how attractive the sport is.

“We think we can do work to help to make sure that (the Olympics) are a success, both by raising awareness around the Olympics, during the event but also creating a lot of excitement … in the lead up to the summer” of next year, Mosseri said.

He said Instagram plans to hold similar events for athletes in other sports.

Mosseri was named head of Instagram last October following the resignation of founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger.