Japan’s Largest Q&A Site Launches Official Chinese Edition

OKWave China's Logo

Chubun Industry's LogoLogo of Aoyama Data Center

On Tuesday, Shibuya-based Q&A portal site OK Wave officially released its Chinese edition[C] in association with Chubun Industry[J] which publishes a Chinese-language newsletter[C] and provides a multi-channel IPTV service[C] for Chinese residents in Japan, and Aoyama Data Center[J] which has data center facilities in both capital cities of Japan and Mainland China.

OKWave China's Screenshot

(Asiajin has not yet confirmed if any access to the website from Mainland China is not blocked by China’s Great Firewall. The website seems to be physically located in Japan since its IP address is registered as one of NEC Personal Products‘ network.)

The portal site basically targets Chinese residents in Japan and Chinese visitors to Japan. Japanese/Chinese and Chinese/Japanese translation feature will be added by the end of this year.

Three companies plan to develop an advertising business model specifically designed for Chinese market, and also to provide Chinese well-known portal sites with their Q&A system on an ASP basis. The companies expects to earn 2 million users and 50 million PVs by June 2010.

OK Wave says, it’s hard for Chinese residents and visitors in Japan to find where they can buy what they want to have despite their population is so large that daily life information should be provided in their mother tongue. Currently the population of Chinese residents in Japan is 650,000, and the number of annual Chinese visitors to Japan exceeded 9 million in late 2008.

The site is reportedly targeting Chinese living in Japan, but its domain name ending with Chinese country code makes us aware that the site is going to target Chinese people living in Mainland China as well.

jsmap – US States selection library

New Javascript library jsmap is released on cognitom.com , which enables a new way of choosing regions from diagram map.

Its Japan version seems welcomed favorably by Japanese web developers, as the Japan’s prefecture selection is always an usability headache.

There are Japanese websites provides region selection by drilling down by links, usually implemented on Flash. But this one can be used more easily, and not many open source library are available.

The US English version is also released. Like Japanese version, USA is divided into regions and able to be selected with map.

US States selection by map

From my experience, people only need to put the state you reside, usually. So, state selection in US works easy with the common alphabetical ordered selection box. Making things difficult in Japan is that there are no “dictionary” order or no other clear order everyone agrees (most used order is “north to south”, but it cannot be uniquely defined, still confusing), which leads this jsmap library attractive.

The idea of this user interface is good and there will be many other applicable situations, like for country selection from Asia, Africa, etc.

I assume that Japanese is not the only culture/language which is not satisfied by alphabetical-order-form-selection. This kind of UI neccesity could be overlooked by mainstream user interface libraries most of which emerged from American/Europe countries with latin letters.