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Google in Asia Pacific: 10 proud moments from 20 years

Twenty years ago this month, Google opened the doors of its first overseas office — in Tokyo. The office was rudimentary by today’s standards (the music system was a portable cassette deck). But our founders knew the Asia Pacific region would be central to Google’s mission of making information universally accessible. More importantly, Google also had an enormous amount to learn from the region.

Over the past 20 years, Google’s commitment to Asia Pacific has steadily deepened, and we’re proud to have helped support the region’s extraordinary growth. Today, 2.5 billion people are online here, almost all of them on mobile. We’re honored they use Google’s tools to improve their lives: finding jobs, learning new skills, building businesses, and pushing the boundaries of technology. It’s clear there remains huge, untapped potential for the future if we can continue to lay the foundations with the right investments and initiatives.  

To mark the occasion, we wanted to reflect on some of the moments and themes that have defined Google’s 20 years in Asia.

1. Silicon Valley to Shibuya

That first nondescript office in Tokyo’s Shibuya neighborhood was a long way — in both scale and decor — from the current Google office down the street. But these humble digs served as our first Asia Pacific headquarters. The Googlers there did pioneering work — including steps to take emoji culture global (). And the office laid the groundwork for today’s Google Japan team, helping the host nation continue its long tradition of forward-thinking in technology. Fast forward to today and we have offices full of Googlers throughout the region, with Singapore as our current Asia Pacific headquarters.


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