2ch Now Owned by Mysterious Singaporean Company

hiroyuki-gravure.jpg

Hiroyuki Nishimura (pictured), 2channel founder, NicoNico Douga CEO and gravure idol, has transferred the world’s largest forum 2ch to an unknown Singaporean company, in a move which has taken observers largely by surprise.

The (public) background to this is that as an anonymous board, 2ch is frequently used to make actionable comments, and the desperate trail of lawyers hunting for someone to sue has long been an impediment to the site’s management, even if Hiroyuki is notorious for ignoring them.

This is thought to be part of the reason why Hiroyuki recently announced on his blog that the site has been completely transferred, taking effect on the 1st of January.

Now it would appear that 2ch has no formal connection to Japan at all, despite being its largest forum.

The company to which 2ch has been transferred, Packet Monster Inc, is completely unknown, and in fact is likely merely a shell or holding company for taxation and litigation minimisation.

The whois details are as follows:

Before:

Registrant:
Monsters Inc
#602, 5-12-5
Shinjyuku
Shinjyuku-ku
Tokyo, TK 160-0022
JP

Domain name: 2CH.NET

Administrative Contact:
Nishimura, Hiroyuki
#602, 5-12-5
Shinjyuku
Shinjyuku-ku
Tokyo, TK 160-0022
JP
020-4622-8073 Fax: 020-4622-8073

Technical Contact:
Watkins, Jim
9629 Evergreen Way suite 202C
Everett, WA 98204
US
425-353-7103 Fax: 425-353-5962

After:

Registrant:
PACKET MONSTER INC. PTE. LTD.
TELOK AYER STREET
SINGAPORE, SINGAPORE 068589
SG

Domain name: 2CH.NET

Administrative Contact:
DHANVANTRAY, RAGINI packetmonsterch2div@2ch.net
TELOK AYER STREET
SINGAPORE, SINGAPORE 068589
SG
+1.4165551212

Technical Contact:
Watkins, Jim dns@nttsupport.com
9629 Evergreen Way suite 202C
Everett, WA 98204
US
425-353-7103 Fax: 425-353-5962

A spot of searching reveals the lady listed in the contact details to be the CEO of a Singaporean company called Rikvin, specialising in Singapore-based offshore company formations.

With no particular connection to the business of managing web sites, we can speculate reasonably that the management continues to reside with Hiroyuki, and this move is thus entirely driven by tax or legal incentives.

The servers themselves have long been internationally hosted, chiefly for legal reasons, so from this perspective there should be no change.

Aside from the issue of the unknown company, Hiroyuki himself, and subsequent mass media reports, all refer to a complete “transfer” of the site’s ownership to Packet Monster – clearly a huge site like 2ch, which is thought to have millions of dollars of revenue, is unlikely to have just been given away, so unless a secret sale was involved it looks as though Hiroyuki will be retaining an interest.

An issue we do not see given any consideration is that of the less than free speech enjoyed in Singapore – presumably with an offshore Internet concern this is not an issue, as we might not expect a site like 2ch to last long were it a domestic Singaporean site.

Hiroyuki himself remains deeply involved in losing millions of dollars monthly at NicoNico Douga, whilst dreaming about global expansion, so it seems likely shedding some of the burden the management of 2ch involved will be useful to him.

Given that no significant improvements have been made to the awkward, if not obsolescent, 2ch site itself in many years, any innovation or change on this front seems unlikely.

The online reaction to this has been very mixed, with most not really understanding the move, though the more extreme responses such as “He’s abandoning Japan!” are quite unreasonable.

In fact, many ostensibly Japan based major websites are incorporated and hosted overseas, most notably the massive free blog host FC2, the second most frequently visited domain in Japan, second only to Yahoo.co.jp. In this case, the company is actually incorporated in Nevada under the name of an American, and the management resides in Los Angeles.

Whilst this move is being painted by many, not least Hiroyuki, as a case of avoiding the oppressive Japanese courts, we must wonder at the significant tax advantages he will now enjoy…


Popular

Recent News

Recent Galleries

Recent Comments