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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How Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare are joining the World Cup fiesta

Today is World Cup 2010 kick-off. And today’s most popular social networks – Facebook, Twitter, Facebook – are joining the fiesta. I’ve listed here, in order of interestingness:

1. Twitter

The microblogging social network launches a dedicated World Cup 2010 page to make it easier for people to follow #WorldCup conversations on Twitter. You can Live Tweets about each match. It also features Top Tweets, which are “algorithmically selects and retweets some of the most interesting tweets about the World Cup.”

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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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Smart transmitter in social media vs dumb receiver in mass media

social mesh“Total fans on Facebook” or “total followers on Twitter”, for example, are some of the key performance yardsticks, when it comes to social media. Numbers are good but really, brands are still thinking of social media as traditional mass media. In the mass media, size matters the most (hence, the word ‘mass’). In the crudest sense, brands should assume its audience as smart transmitter in the social media space. In mass media world, there’s only dumb receivers (most of the time).

In social web universe, you’re a smart transmitter:
– frictionless access to social technologies;
– social media designed for engagement;
– social media is more able to deliver the right message to the right people at the right time (rightcast);
– size does matter but influence matters more;
– delivers both reach (audience) and richness (interactivity and content richness).

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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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Enter the Echelon starring cool web startups and thought leaders in Asia. Coming soon

enter the echelon 2010Unconference Singapore is now called echelon. The annual web technology event, organized by the e27 gang, features mind-boggling combination of conference, panel discussions, pitching sessions and exhibitions. This year, topics to be covered include social gaming, cloud computing, location-based services, social networking, social media and socialTV.

Last year, I particularly enjoyed trolling the exhibition area for startups, which featured 30 awesome startups – iTwin and SocialWok – both went on to be featured on TechCrunch50 2009; iTwin, one of TC50 Finalists and SocialWok, winner of Demopit – Malaysian startups (Elevyn and Foldees), and others include Klout, eJamming Audiio, Fame, Orsiso, ThoughtBuzz and PieceHunters. The Startup Pitches session was great too and last year’s featured 8 startups – Countspin (US), iTwin (Singapore), Frenzoo (Hong Kong), Human Network Labs (Singapore), Socialwok (Singapore), Genkii (Japan), among others.

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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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AirAsia the First Airline with 100,000 Fans on Facebook; Southwest Will Be the First with 1,000,000 Fans

On the morning of December 9 2009, AirAsia became the first airline in the world with 100,000 fans on Facebook. This makes the award-winning airline the most popular Malaysian brand on Facebook; also, one of the top Asian brands, in terms of Facebook fans. The airline with less than 50,000 fans in August this year. In 4 months or so, the airline organically grew its fan base and surpassed the 100,000 mark. However, within a day, the 100,000 mark is surpassed by US-based Southwest Airlines.

Fans Growth of AirAsia Facebook Fan

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5 Things You Probably Already Know About Social Media Use

Here’s some of observations about the use of social media (and as shortcut, social media is myopically defined as Twitter and Facebook):coke_bottle

  • Twitter, a water cooler chat. Facebook Page, a community canvass. On Twitter, people want to interact with you e.g. complaints and ideas for product improvements. Unless you are a news organization like CNN and The Economist or a celebrity like @Alyssa_Milano, @The_Real_Shaq and @BritneySpears, it’s hard to get away with just tweet-casting without being called inept user of social media. On Facebook, your community want to interact with you AND among themselves. So, it’s relatively easier to get away by not interacting with your fans. Facebook Page can be used by fans as a community wall, for public display of affection towards a brand. In essence, it provides user-created online context for fans to connect with one another, share thoughts and propagating the allure of the brand.
  • Social media is interactive. So, be inventive. Toys r’ Us uses its Facebook Page to “to distribute coupons, announce unadvertised deals and solicit feedback.” Others used social media to announce arrival of new products e.g. fresh bakes from oven @AlbionsOven. Some use it effectively as a broadcast tool e.g. @cnnbrk. Depends on needs and context, social media can be used to support your brand building infrastructure or obtain customer feedback or source for talents or ..
  • Easier to grow community on Facebook than Twitter? It depends. Coca-cola has the most popular Page on Facebook, with over 4 million fans; on Twitter, Coca-Cola is followed by only over 12,000. It’s the reverse for JetBlue Airways.
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Project 500 by a Word-of-Mouth Marketing Company (ALARM!)

project500_logoVocanic Pte Ltd., Singapore-based company, is behind Project 500. Vocanic is a company specializes in word-of-mouth marketing, which “harness and amplify the conversations that consumers have about your brand, and use them to create highly effective marketing campaigns” (Source: Vocanic’s website). It started as a website, requesting social mediaphiles to sign-up for a secret project. A briefing was held to reveal the ‘product’ and it’s a social media streams aggregator. Think Ping.fm and Orsiso. Is this the aggregator referred to as “the next big thing to explode in the social media scene”? I’m doubtful.

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