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Flickr may bring Photo Books service to Taiwan this year

TAIPEI -- Flickr, the popular online photo-sharing site owned by Yahoo Inc., said on Tuesday that it is planning to introduce its own branded printing service to Taiwan in a bid to gain more traction among Taiwan's photography enthusiasts.

The Flickr Photo Books service, available only in the United States since it was unveiled on Nov. 19 last year, allows users to turn their pictures into a hardcover book of up to 20 pages for US$34.95 with simply one click on any photo set.

The service, which can be ordered directly from the photo-sharing site, is expected to arrive in other international markets this year, including Taiwan, said Markus Spiering, head of product at Flickr.

He said Taiwan has many “early adopters” who are more “open-minded” to new technologies compared with people in other countries, and explained that Flickr has made a lot of efforts to tap into Taiwan's photography community.

Flickr's first local campaign started in August 2013 when it teamed up with Taiwan's Tourism Bureau to showcase the country's scenery and people as well as set up a locally based customer service center.

“The Taiwanese market in general — I think (not only) for Yahoo but also for Flickr — is very interesting because there are a lot of very, very engaged photographers,” Spiering said.

Asked about its partnership with hardware manufacturers, Spiering said Flickr has integrated its features into Android phones made by Taiwan's HTC Corp., allowing users to edit and share their pictures more easily on HTC devices.

Mobile will remain Flickr's “biggest priority” in 2014, the executive said, noting that users can expect “a big evolution” of the site's new mobile features.

Flickr, which launched a revamped version of its website in May last year with larger space for storage and enhanced mobile support, now has 92 million users worldwide who have contributed nearly 10 billion photos to the site.

About 10 percent of Flickr's photos are uploaded from mobile devices at present, compared with fewer than 5 percent before September last year.

Flicker has estimated that 881.4 billion photographs will be taken around the world in 2014, up from 488.3 billion in 2009 and 695.8 billion in 2012, a sign of the growing potential market for online photo-sharing sites.

Taiwan was ranked eighth among countries for unique Flickr tags worldwide in 2013, trailing only Japan, the U.S., France, Italy, the United Kingdom, Germany and Australia. China and India ranked ninth and 10th.

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