August 26, 2009 / 10:55 AM / 9 years ago

Mixi aims to nearly double its users in 4 yrs

* Aims for 30 mln users in 2 to 4 yrs via new applications

* Shares close up 2.9 pct vs Nikkei’s 1.4 pct rise

(Adds details, comments, background)

TOKYO, Aug 26 (Reuters) - Mixi Inc (2121.T), Japan’s biggest social networking site, plans to nearly double its number of users to 30 million within four years, its chief executive said on Wednesday.

Mixi, which competes with Yahoo Japan (4689.T), Rakuten Inc 4755.Q and DeNA’s (2432.T) Mobage-town, aims to attract more users by adding content to its sites and by opening up registration, its CEO and founder, Kenji Kasahara, said in an interview with Reuters.

On Monday, the company launched a set of applications dubbed Mixi Appli that enable users to interact on its site through games and communication tools developed by vendors.

Mixi is offering over 130 applications — mostly games — to its PC users, and expects more from over 6,000 developers including Sony Corp (6758.T). It will start a mobile version of Mixi Appli at the end of September.

“I expect Mixi Appli will be able to generate as many page views as Mixi Diary does,” Kasahara said, referring to the Mixi site’s blogging pages.

Launched in February 2004, Mixi now has 17 million users, who together log over 15 billion monthly views, a quarter of which are via mobile phones.

The number of its users is still a fraction of those of News Corp’s (NWSA.O) MySpace or of Facebook.

Mixi shares, listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange’s Mothers market .MTHR, rose 2.9 percent to 650,000 yen on Wednesday.

(Reporting by Yumi Otagaki; Editing by Edwina Gibbs and Joseph Radford)

((yumi.otagaki@thomsonreuters.com; +81-3-6441-1812; Reuters Messaging: yumi.otagaki.reuters.com@reuters.net))

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