Dow Jones – Google, a unit of Alphabet, said on Friday that it plans to move in 2019 to a new Tokyo office big enough to double its staff. The company said it is also looking for new ways to use big data and machine learning in Japan, as well as expand its cloud services for companies.
More Japanese companies such as utility Tokyo Electric Power and clothing-chain operator Fast Retailing are seeking faster and more secure ways to store and analyse huge amounts of data.
“Doubling our presence in Japan means growing our strong engineering teams here,” Alphabet chief financial officer Ruth Porat said at a news conference.
That could see Google vying with Yahoo Japan for engineers in a tight labour market. Like Google, Japan’s biggest internet-portal operator is investing in its own infrastructure for big data and machine learning.
The Japanese joint venture between SoftBank Group’s Japan unit and Yahoo has invested in a supercomputer specialising in deep-learning applications and has assembled its own data-research centre with 500 engineers, spending years to personalise its voice-recognition and electronic-payments services.
In 2010, Yahoo Japan adopted Google’s search-engine algorithms and advertisement-delivery system. As a pioneer in launching Japan’s access to the internet, Yahoo Japan has managed to keep its lead over Google in the number of PC users, with a monthly average of 34 million users to Google’s 22 million, according to market research firm Nielsen Japan.
But increasing smartphone use has helped Google log twice as many searches as Yahoo Japan, according to web-traffic analysis firm Statcounter.
A Yahoo Japan spokesman declined to comment on Google’s plans.