Coming soon: Facebook Credits available at retail stores in Asia

Facebook Credits virtual currency platform set to expand its payment options in Asia. Facebook and MOL Global just announced a strategic partnership to enable the purchase of Facebook Credits using MOLPoints, an online micropayment system developed and managed by Malaysia-based MOL, one of the largest internet companies in South East Asia.

Credits, the official virtual currency on Facebook, enables the purchase of gifts and virtual goods for games and applications on Facebook platform. Popular games like Farmville, Millionaire City, Hotel City, Petville, Bejeweled Blitz, Hotel City, Barn Buddy, Likeness and hundreds other games and applications are already accepting Facebook Credits (up-to-date list of games here). There are over 200 million unique Facebook users playing games each month. Soon, these social gamers can buy Credits using MOLPoints. And they can reload the MOLPoints through MOL’s network of over 500,000 physical (e.g. 7-Eleven, cybercafes, bookstores), online banking and mobile payment channels, in over 80 countries.

“The relationship with Facebook demonstrates MOL’s growing role as a leading payment provider for social networking sites in Asia, especially in our core countries of Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand and India,” said Ganesh Kumar Bangah, group chief executive officer for MOL Global.

He added, “Over the last few quarters, we have seen a double-digit increase in payment transactions and payment volume. This partnership continues MOL’s momentum to build the largest end-to-end content, distribution and commerce network in Asia.”

According to Vaughan Smith, director of business and corporate development at Facebook, “working with MOL means we can offer the benefits of Facebook Credits to millions of people in Asia using a payment system that is already widely used and trusted. We’re investing in the long-term future of Facebook Credits and we view this agreement as a major opportunity to broaden the availability of a simple, unified currency that can be used in games and applications across Facebook.”

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Fastest Growing Asian Countries on Facebook

facebook f8

These new figures are compared to the figures extracted in March 01 2010. Refer to table below: South Korea with the largest increase of 65%, between March 01 2010 and June 01 2010. Other countries with double-digit growth rate are Thailand with 28.3%, India 27.7%, Japan 21%, Pakistan 12.9%, Malaysia 12.3%, and Vietnam 10.4%. Compared to figures extracted in March 01 2010, total Facebook users in Indonesia and Taiwan have shown decline (not sure if it’s really declining or errors in figures extracted from Facebook.com or something else).

Between March and June this year, Thailand replaced Hong Kong as the sixth largest Facebook users in Asia, Pakistan replaced Singapore in no. 8 spot, and South Korea jumped from no. 13 to no. 11, replacing Vietnam. Also, Malaysia is fast approaching Taiwan to become the fourth largest Asian country on Facebook.

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105,779,710 users and new estimates of Twitter users in Asia

At Chirp, Twitter revealed its total registered users – 105,779,710. With this ‘official’ figure, let’s take another stab at estimating total Twitter users in Asia. This is a revised estimates to the previous posting, Twitter in Asia, by Country. The estimates now is based on the ‘official’ total registered Twitter users and Twitter population’s percentage breakdown, by country (source: Sysomos).

During Chirp, co-founder @ also revealed that 75% of Twitter traffic comes from outside Twitter.com. So, Fred Wilson’s argument that “Twitter ecosystem is about 3x Twitter.com” seems to apply. However, comScore’s estimate of 60 million unique visitors at Twitter.com may be way off! The use of the 60-million figure in my previous estimates resulted in inflated estimates of Twitter population in Asia.

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Facebook in Asia: Total Users and Age Groups [Latest STATS]

See the latest report: Facebook in Asia: A Growth Story in 2011

Facebook marked its 6th anniversary on February 05 2010 with a population of 400 million users. On February 11 2010, the social network hit another milestone – more than 100 million people actively using Facebook on their mobile phones. Today, there are over 3 billion photos being uploaded to Facebook each month and more than 500,000 active applications on its Platform. And recently, FastCompany magazine named Facebook, as the World’s Most Innovative Company 2010.

These days, 70% of Facebook users are from outside US. In Asia, Facebook is fast becoming the one the region’s leading social networks. Indonesia has the fourth highest number of Facebook users in the world, after US, UK and Turkey. With 18.9 million users, Indonesia is well ahead of Philippines, the country with 10.5 million Facebook users (refer to table below). This is followed by India (6.8 million), Taiwan (5.8 million) and Malaysia (5.1 million). In terms of penetration rate, Hong Kong has the highest “Facebook users per country population” rate in Asia, at 39%, followed by Singapore (38%), Taiwan (25%), Malaysia (18%) and Philippines (11%). The total Facebook users in Asia is 59.6 million, or about 15% of the global Facebook population.

Facebook Users in Asia, by Country
(as of March 01 2010)
No. Country Estimated Total Users* % of Population^ % of Total Online Users#
1 Indonesia 18,943,640 7.88 63.15
2 Philippines 10,518,420 11.44 43.83
3 India 6,829,340 0.58 8.43
4 Taiwan 5,808,940 25.21 38.36
5 Malaysia 5,094,600 18.00 30.14
6 Hong Kong 2,769,900 39.26 56.78
7 Thailand 2,525,280 3.96 15.68
8 Singapore 1,895,580 38.01 56.25
9 Pakistan 1,803,860 1.07 9.75
10 Japan 907,540 0.71 0.95
11 Vietnam 761,260 0.89 3.47
12 Bangladesh 748,440 0.46
13 South Korea 510,560 1.02 1.36
14 Sri Lanka 483,340 2.39 41.54
  TOTAL 59,600,700    
* Total Users from Facebook.com / ^ Total Population from Wikipedia.com / # Total Online Users from The World Factbook (CIA)
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Twitter in Asia: Total Users, by Country

According to Sycomos latest report on Twitter, Asian countries constitutes about 7.74% of the Twitter unique users worldwide. Indonesia topped with 2.34% of unique users, followed by Japan (1.47) and India (0.97). On a global perspective, more than half of Twitter unique users (56.59%) are located in the US and followed by UK (8.09), Brazil (6.73), Canada (4.36) and Australia (2.63). This is based on analysis of active 13 million unique users, between Oct 16 2009 and Dec 16 2009.

comScore reported the total global unique users of Twitter.com has reached 60 million. However, Fred Wilson argued that “Twitter ecosystem is about 3x Twitter.com.” Twitter ecosystem refers to all interactions with Twitter APIs, via the plethora of third-party Twitter apps i.e. Tweetdeck, bit.ly, Facebook, iPhone apps, etc.

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