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Le Huffington Post's First Year, and the Future for International

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How do you say "The Huffington Post" in French? Last year on this date we answered the question with the debut of Le Huffington Post, the France-edition of our website. Launched in partnership with the French newspaper Le Monde, it was the Huffington Post's first foray into publishing in languages other than English -- as well as transforming our publishing platform, from slideshows to social to community, into another language -- and an important step on our road to becoming a truly international news and opinion destination.

In the year since we launched in Paris to much fanfare in the French press (photos from the press conference to prove it here), the site has gone on to have a tremendous first 12 months, which is a testament to the talent and hard work of the entire Le HuffPost team, led by Editorial Director Anne Sinclair and Editor-in-chief Paul Ackermann, as well as our fantastic partner, Le Monde. They took the HuffPost DNA and fused it with the traditions of French media to make an engaging, must-read website that represents the best of both. And readers there have responded: in its first year the site quickly grew to become the top online-only (or "pure player," as the French say) news website in the country.

Among the many highlights of the first year was the team's coverage of the French presidential election, which featured great original reporting, live blogging, and insightful posts from the site's now more than 1,100 bloggers. In 2012, the team covered everything from unspeakable tragedies such as the shootings in Toulouse last March, to moments of national celebration like The Artist sweeping the Oscars. (You can check out all the highlights from the year here). For the U.S. election, they created an innovative partnership with France Inter radio to help bring the HuffPost's American expertise on this topic to a French audience. Amid all this, they even found time to launch a new section devoted to lifestyle called, what else, C'est La Vie.

And Le HuffPost was just the beginning of our international rollout in 2012. We started a French-language section of our Canadian site for readers in Quebec last February; partnered with Prisa, the publishers of El Pais newspaper in Spain, to create El Huffington Post, which debuted in June in Madrid; and together with Gruppo Espresso in Italy we established L'Huffington Post, which launched in September in Rome. At the same time, the two English language editions we launched in 2011 -- Canada and the UK -- continued to thrive, with Canada adding regional editions in British Columbia and Alberta and the UK seeing its visitors grow by 92 percent year over year. In total, HuffPost had 13 million worldwide visitors to our editions outside the U.S. in December.

In 2013, our goal is to take the Huffington Post brand even further, by moving beyond Europe and North America and into markets such as South America, Asia and Africa. As we announced in December, we will be launching HuffPost in Japan in partnership with the newspaper Asahi later this year. And more planned sites will be unveiled in the months ahead. Today, Huffington Post is international; by the end of next year, we will be global.

As I wrote in a blog post last week, one of the aims in launching international editions of the Huffington Post is to create a global conversation around all kinds of topics -- from politics to parenting, economics to environment, green issues to gay rights -- and to provide a more international perspective on world affairs to our readers in each country. Our goal is to bring the best news and opinion from each of our international editions to our readers here in the U.S., and vice versa. On big topics like austerity and the U.S election, we've mobilized our reporters in each nation to produce editorial features that reflect how these issues are viewed country to country. This is something you can expect to see even more of in the year to come.

HuffPost is, of course, not alone among media properties in expanding internationally. For example, The Guardian launched a U.S. edition of its site in 2011, while the New York Times launched a Chinese edition in 2012, and announced plans to do something similar in Brazil in the future. All of this activity highlights the unique opportunity that exists to redefine, and even recreate, what it means to be a global publisher and media brand in the Internet age. That's why we're incredibly excited to accelerate our international expansion.

And so happy birthday to Le HuffPost, and thanks to our readers around the world for following us on our global journey.