Category Archives: Asia

10 years of Mozilla in Asia

Today, after 10 years of building Mozilla’s presence in Asia, I leave Mozilla as full-time staff. Our family is moving to Shanghai for new opportunities and I am leaving to organize our move and enjoy the summer. My last day in the office was April 27th.

I have too many people to thank for their support over these many years at Mozilla. I won’t be able to thank everyone but I do want to specifically thank Mitchell Baker and Joi Ito, who introduced me to John Lilly, Chris Beard, and Paul Kim back in January of 2006. Without Joi and John, I would not have joined Mozilla- thank you both.

Thank you to all of my colleagues at Mozilla Japan, especially Satoko Takita, who was very supportive since the beginning. Takita-san, I cannot thank you enough. Thanks to all of my colleagues who made my Mozilla journey as important as the destination: the Evangelism team under Mike Shaver, the Evangelism team under Chris Blizzard, the Contributor Engagement team under Mary Colvig, and the Participation team under Brian King.

There are too many community members for me to thank, so I will just thank you all for your commitment to Mozilla. It is your dedication to the mission of Mozilla which keeps the project alive and moving forward.

While I will be leaving full-time employment at Mozilla, I’ll be continuing my mentor position at 500 Startups. I’m also excited to announce that I am now mentoring at Chinaccelerator, a program by SOS Ventures. If you or your friends are interested in either program, or you are visiting Shanghai, please don’t hesitate to get in touch: gen at kanai dot net

(Note that if I am in China, it may take longer to reach me via methods that are blocked by the Great Firewall. Email is usually best: gen at kanai dot net)

I’ll close with a selection of photos from my time at Mozilla.

John Lilly & Mike Schroepfer in Tokyo, March 2006; (I see Nakano-san on the right side there.)


Mozillagumi welcomes Scott MacGregor to Japan, June 2006

Mozillagumi welcomes Scott MacGregor to Tokyo

Mitchell & Takita-san interviewed by the Japanese media, Sept. 2006

Mitchell & Chibi interview 3

An interpreter, John Lilly and Joi Ito at the Firefox 2.0 Japan press event, October 2006

Firefox 2 Japan press event 2

John Lilly & Chris Beard in Tiananmen Square, January 2007

John Lilly & Chris Beard in Tian'anmen Square

The Mozilla organization in China that existed before Mozilla China.


Seth Spitzer & Seth Bindernagel meet their match with “medium” spicy beef noodle soup in Taipei, April 2007.

spicy beef noodle soup

Mozilla Japan hosted the Firefox Developers Conference, Summer 2007 (with guest speakers including Shaver, mfinkle, fligtar and dmills)


Chris Beard and Kaori Negoro, Feb. 2008


Mozilla Japan, Firefox 3.5 release photo

3 and 5, for Firefox 3.5!

Mitchell speaking at the OECD Ministerial Meeting on the Future of the Internet Economy, Seoul, June 2008.


Mitchell and I visited with the Mozilla Korea community on the release of Firefox 3.0, June 2008

Mozilla Korea, Firefox 3.0 launch 9831

Mitchell was interviewed on CNN from their Seoul bureau, June 2008

Mitchell Baker at CNN, Seoul, Korea

Mozilla l10n teams, Mozilla Summit 2008

Mozilla l10n-0109

meeting with HanoiLUG, Dec. 2009


speaking at Barcamp Saigon, Dec. 2009


Mozilla Indonesia gathering, May 2010


Firefox 4 launch, Bandung, May 2010


Firefox 4 launch, Manila, May 2010

Mozilla Summit 2010

"Shaver will form the head"

Mozilla Summit 2010 - 2

Mitchell Baker and I in Jakarta, Sept 2010

some of the Mozilla Indonesia community

Mozilla Thailand community, Oct. 2010 (with William & Dietrich)


PestaBlogger, Jakarta, Oct. 2010, with Dietrich and WilliamQ




Mozilla community managers, Sept. 2012

community managers at Mozilla

MozCamp Asia 2012 closing dance

Mozilla Bangladesh meeting, Dec. 2012


Mozilla Summit 2013


Analyse Asia – The Firefox Browser & Mobile OS with Gen Kanai

I had the pleasure to sit down with Bernard Leong, host of the Analyse Asia podcast, after my keynote presentation at FOSSASIA 2015. Please enjoy our discussion on Firefox, Firefox OS in Asia and other related topics.

Analyse Asia with Bernard Leong, Episode 22: The Firefox Browser & Mobile OS with Gen Kanai


Shanghai Community meeting December 8

Please join me at the upcoming Mozilla community meeting in Shanghai on the afternoon/evening of Sunday, December 8th. My presentation will be in English on the topic of community building strategies but I think the bulk of the meeting will be in Chinese.

A draft agenda is as follows (this may change):

3:00 - 3:10 pm Short introduction about Mozilla/Firefox l10n related work 
3:10 - 3:30 pm the translation guide lines introduction
3:30 - 3:45 pm break
3:45 - 4:45 pm Firefox OS and Firefox Marketplace
4:45 - 5:00 pm break and free discussion
5:00 - 6:00 pm AMO, MDN, SUMO translation, l10n sprint
6:05 - 6:45 pm Gen's speech & QA
6:45 - 7:15 pm Pizza dinner
7:15 - 8:00 pm Movie "Code Rush"

– Event venue
上海市静安区昌平路990号8号楼 联合创业办公社 (延平智阁)
Google Maps link

Please feel free to either show up at the event itself or if you’d like, please leave a comment and we’ll know to look for you. Hope you can join us!

The Economist on the Internet in China

Gady Epstein, who is the China Correspondent for The Economist  has put together a large 14-page special report on the Internet in China. I strongly recommend it.

Gady was also on this week’s Sinica Podcast talking about this special report, which I also strongly recommend: Gady Epstein on The Internet (in China)

Special report: China and the internet

China’s internet: A giant cage
The internet was expected to help democratise China. Instead, it has enabled the authoritarian state to get a firmer grip, says Gady Epstein. But for how long?

The machinery of control: Cat and mouse
How China makes sure its internet abides by the rules

Microblogs: Small beginnings
Microblogs are a potentially powerful force for change, but they have to tread carefully

The Great Firewall: The art of concealment
Chinese screening of online material from abroad is becoming ever more sophisticated

E-commerce: Ours, all ours
A wealth of internet businesses with Chinese characteristics

Cyber-hacking: Masters of the cyber-universe
China’s state-sponsored hackers are ubiquitous—and totally unabashed

Internet controls in other countries: To each their own
China’s model for controlling the internet is being adopted elsewhere

Assessing the effects: A curse disguised as a blessing?
The internet may be delaying the radical changes China needs

at Digital World 2012, Dhaka, Bangladesh

On December 6th, I will be in Dhaka to speak at Digital World 2012,in the Digital Entrepreneur Conference in the afternoon. Please don’t hesitate to say hello if you are also attending

2012 update to the 2007 Cost of Monoculture in Korea

Back in 2007, I published the cost of monoculture, a blog post that was the first English-language explanation of the situation in South Korea where a series of independent decisions created a de facto monopoly for Microsoft Internet Explorer. The blog post was widely covered in 2007, in Salon, Slashdot, Boing Boing, etc.
Fast forward 5+ years to the late part of 2012 and basically nothing has changed. In fact, things are so bad in Korea that a candidate for the President of Korea, Ahn Cheol-soo, has taken the position that if he were voted in, he would abolish the laws that have locked Korea to Microsoft Internet Explorer.

Ahn Pledges To Wipe Out South Korea’s Outdated Internet Encryption Rule – Korea Real Time – WSJ

Internet Explorer becomes Korean election issue • The Register

Sure this candidate is from the IT/software field, but the fact that his platform has this position says that this is still a painful issue for most people in Korea today. It’s stunning that the Korean government has not proactively moved away from Active-X plugins when Microsoft themselves are deprecating this technology in Windows 8 and Internet Explorer 10.


browser competition in Korea in 2012

The Korea Times has a new article on the popularity of Google Chrome in Korea.

In Korea, though Internet Explorer is still overwhelming other top browsers such as Firefox, Safari and Maxthon, Chrome is beginning to emerge as a possible contender.

In April 2011, 91.93 percent of Korean users used Internet Explorer, while only 4.33 percent used Chrome. Some had never even heard of others browsers used overseas.

In April this year, Chrome accounted for 13.88 percent of domestic users, the only browser to reach the double digits to challenge Internet Explorer’s 78 percent.

Chrome gaining fast against Explorer

While it’s encouraging to see that browser competition in Korea is changing, I don’t understand this comment about “toolbars.”

Another downside of Internet Explorer, besides the need to agree to an authorized certificate for monetary transactions is the need to install toolbars. To access popular Web portals such as Naver or Daum, users are required to install provided toolbars, which are now considered cumbersome by those who have other new options open to them.

Chrome has the advantage of not needing tool bars, unlike Internet Explorer and Firefox, among others.

I don’t understand the requirement to download a toolbar in order to access a website. Is this a real requirement or just an attempt by the portal to push their toolbar onto the user? Maybe my Korean readers can help explain this?


Mozilla Myanmar at Barcamp Mandalay

Chit and Thanyawzinmin (Tin Aung Lin) from the Mozilla community in Myanmar recently represented Mozilla at BarCamp Mandalay. Please go over to Chit’s blog to read all about it!

India community meetup at GNUnify ’12 in Pune

This is the formal announcement for a meetup of the Mozilla India community at GNUnify ’12 in Pune, the weekend of February 10-12. Mozilla will participate at GNUnify on Feb. 10 and 11, and the India community meetup will be held on Sunday, Feb. 12th.

  • Friday, February 10 – Mozilla participation at GNUnify ’12
  • Saturday, February 11 – Mozilla participation at GNUnify ’12
  • Sunday, February 12 – Mozilla India community meetup in Pune

The goal of this meetup on Feb. 12 is to gather the India community together for a number of objectives including:

  • establish the community structure
  • build road map for 2012
  • identify priorities for the community
  • bring together key localizers and other core and active contributors (including ReMo)
  • promote Mozilla in India

Arky and Axel from the l10n Drivers will be attending. I will be attending. We also hope to get a member from Developer Engagement to attend. More info to come when we have it.

Anyone who is active in the Mozilla India community is welcome to join this event. As Mozilla will not be providing any funding to attendees, we selected Pune as this location is home to the Red Hat team which has a number of key localization team leaders and members.

We will do our best to accommodate online participation via IRC but this will depend on local connectivity at the venue which is not yet determined. Information about the weekend will be posted here:

Vineel is helping to organize the weekend but we would love help from Mozilla community members in Pune for local support and knowledge. If you can help Vineel with planning, please contact him directly or post to the Community-India mailing list or Google Group interface.

The planning for the event will be discussed on the Community-India list (see above) so please join the list to participate.

See you in Pune!

Mozilla meetup in Cambodia Jan. 23

John O’Duinn’s Mozilla meetup in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, on Jan. 23rd has been confirmed:

We’ll be meeting at East-West Management Institute, House #43, Street 208, Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Events formally go from 2pm-5pm Monday 23rd January, 2012; at 7pm, we’ll head over to Romdeng, House# 74, Street 174, Phnom Penh for dinner+drinks+chat.

If you are interested in helping to make the Khmer Firefox a reality, helping to promote Mozilla in Cambodia, please join John and Vannak and the EWMI team on Monday.

Khmer Firefox on Aurora; meetup in Cambodia