Japanese mobile content market grows 12% to $17bn

A report from Japan’s Ministry of Internal Affairs and communications values the country’s mobile content industry at $17.3 billion (1.52 trillion yen) based on statistics from last year.

The data shows the market grew 12 percent with virtual goods – items bought in mobile games and on social networks – the fastest growing category after a year-on-year increase of 185 percent saw it account for $508 million in 2009.

Asiajin breaks the new providing details and a chart of the industry breakdown and development over the last five years.

The $17.3 billion breaks down into mobile commerce, which was worth $11 billion and mobile content (games, ring tones, e-books etc.), which amounted to a $6.3 billion market.

Social gaming is a hugely powerful force in Asia today. The popularity of games like Farmville and Restaurant City are a key factor driving of Asian internet users to join Facebook, explaining why countries in the region dominate the list of Facebook’s fastest growing markets.

With mobile internet usage is significantly higher than fixed-line access in Japan, the country is an ideal market for mobile gaming, mobile social networking and (the combination) mobile social gaming. The growth of the last five years is set to continue as more gaming and social networks develop more sophisticated monetisation strategies in line with increased consumer interest in social networking and gaming.

Unlike rival Twitter, Facebook is yet to make a large impression in the country where domestic gaming platforms/social networks rule the roost. Facebook would do well do look to Japan’s growing mobile content industry, and the increased appetite for mobile gaming and virtual goods, when formulating its Japanese market strategy.