Back in 2010, when Zynga acquired Tokyo-based Unoh (and turned the company into its Japan HQ), the main targets of the Americans were game-related assets and the team.
But Zynga also acquired a pretty successful photo sharing service that was developed by Unoh: Photozou,which went live in 2005 and can probably be best described as Japan’s homegrown Flickr. (During its company history, Unoh launched quite a few services, i.e. a movie information service or a mobile ad network that were both sold off later, too.)
Today, Tokyo-based Digital Garaget (Twitter’s partner in Japan) announced it acquired Photozou from Zynga Japan for an undisclosed sum (press release in English). DG says that Photozou currently boasts 130 million photos on its site, uploaded by some 2.4 million registered members.
For Zynga Japan, selling a photo sharing service it acquired “by chance” makes sense.
DG explains the deal like so:
DG will develop a communication service linked with a variety of media offered by the DG Group and its ventures, built around the photo sharing capability of Photozou. As the first step, DG is planning to collaborate with Twinavi (http://twinavi.jp/) run by its subsidiary CGM Marketing, inc. and a social media scrapbook service called Memolane (http://memolane.com/) run by Memolane, with which DG is in a capital and business partnership.
In addition, DG is planning to offer a series of Web services and applications to easily save photos shot with a smartphone on a cloud network and share them with family and acquaintances, targeting the rapidly expanding smartphone market.
DG says they consider to integrate Photozou into its international business, too.
In Japan, Google Trends for Websites indicates Photozou is more popular than Flickr, at least on PCs: