Twitter joined forces with Japan's largest homegrown social networking website, Mixi, yesterday.
The move was said to be completed for two reasons: to strengthen Mixi's online presence against a rapidly expanding Facebook and to increase their Twitter's global exposure.
Both companies began negotiations after the March earthquake and tsunami.
Japan currently stands as the second largest market for Twitter after the United States.
The popular social networking website has maintained a good relationship overseas. Twitter made the Japanese language its primary foreign language, opened its first overseas headquarters in Japan, and hired James Kondo in Japan as its first international country manager last April.
Kondo spoke to The Associated Press about the new move: "This is going to be an interesting case. We're going to see what works and what doesn't work, and we're going to build on top of that as opposed to throwing out something that may not work."
"Mixi rightly had a choice to do it themselves or partner with someone who's good at this," Kondo said. "And we're glad that they thought that Twitter would be a good partner. I think we can provide value that's distinctive."
Mixi's President Kenji Kasahara spoke at a press conference at the company's headquarters: "Had our services been connected during the [March earthquake and tsunami] disaster, we would have been able to provide much better service for our users."
Mixi, the 7-year-old Tokyo-based company, was once the dominant social networking platform in Japan. Despite its massive popularity in other parts of the world, Facebook failed to make much of an impact in the country.
Once 2011 came around, though, things changed.
A Nielsen NetRatings report showed that Mixi stood in third place behind Twitter and Facebook with unique visitors for October. The Nielsen data also indicates that Facebook surpassed Mixi midway through the year.
Growing social gaming services in Japan, like GREE and DeNA, also pose threats to Mixi.
Facebook surged in popularity this last year in Japan. The popularity of the hit movie "The Social Network" may have something to do with the recent trend.
Twitter may help turn the tide for Mixi through this new joint operation.