Facebook exceeds 100 million users in Asia; added 10 million users in October 2010

In the beginning of October 2010, there were a total of 92.1 million Facebook users in Asia. By end of the month, the figure has surpassed the 100 million user mark (specifically, 102.2 million). That’s an increase of 10.1 million users in a month or 10.9% month-on-month growth!

Indonesia continues to top the Facebook Population in Asia list with 29.8 million users. Although the country is fast approaching the 30 million user mark, the most populous Southeast Asian nation continues to show impressive 12.2% growth rate (the 10th highest among the Asian nations). During the month of October 2010, Indonesia registered the highest increase of % of Total Facebook Population in Asia, an increase of 0.3 percentage point, from 28.9% to 29.2% (India increased by 0.2 percentage point and Japan with 0.1).

Cambodia registered the highest growth rate at 24.6%, followed by Afghanistan (23.3%), Mongolia (19.7%), Japan (19.6%) and South Korea (18.9%). And Bangladesh joined the 1-million users group in October 2010. As of now, there are a total of 13 countries in Asia with over a million Facebook users.

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How Facebook can turn you into mindless drones?

I had a chat with a friend of mine the other day. He seemed down so I asked him if everything was OK, to which he replied that his week had gotten off to a bad start and it was making him depressed. Treading carefully, I asked if he would like to share. His answer shocked me.

“My friend defriended me on Facebook”, he replied.

He elaborated further, saying that this friend, whom he had known since high school and whom he had been contact with on and off throughout the years (as opposed to regular contact) had one day decided to reduce his Facebook contacts to only those he often stayed in touch with, and since he only met up or talked with this guy once in a blue moon, he ended up in the dreaded “Defriended” list. And he wasn’t the only one. A few other school buddies also didn’t make the cut and were equally depressed.

I thought this was utterly ridiculous but sensing that his sadness was genuine, didn’t make a fuss about it. But seriously, getting depressed because you were removed from someone’s contact list on an online app?

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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

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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Blending social networking and e-commerce in Multiply Marketplace

Facebook is on a growth rampage in most parts of the world, but other social networks are crafting niche identities to define their competitive advantage and some are these not-Facebook social networks are thriving. For Multiply social network, it is in a sweet spot when it comes to social shopping. Now, Multiply Marketplace has over 41,000 merchants, mainly located in the Southeast Asia countries – Phillippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam. These micro-merchants use Multiply to setup their online storefronts to take orders (and currently, payments happen outside Multiply network).

“We have only just begun to offer tools and support to the growing community of sellers and buyers doing business on Multiply,” said , president and founder of Multiply. “We now have the largest number of online storefronts in the region. Going forward, our primary focus will be to make the Marketplace the premier social shopping destination on the web, making shopping easier, safer, faster and more entertaining.”

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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 Acquired A Malaysian Startup

Facebook has acquired Octazen Solutions, a Kuala Lumpur-based maker of Contacts Importer software, reported on GigaOM. Octazen’s software already in-use on Facebook and helps the social networking giant to “grow by making it easy for users to invite their contacts on other services,” such as Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo and others. This ‘old’ PDF document explains a bit more on how the Contacts Importer works.

Octazen Solutions – Contacts Importer Web API

According to the article, Facebook said the acquisition as “talent acquisition”. Octazen’s two employees will join Facebook as engineers and remain in Malaysia (Octazen with an office in Taman Melawati, Kuala Lumpur), making them social network’s first Asia-based full-time employees of Facebook.

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To Revitalize Friendster, Just Blend Together Microtransactions, Social Games, Music and a Fair Dose of Luck

friendster_logoFriendster started looking for buyers in July 2009. On 10 December 2009, the once leading social network is acquired by Malaysia’s MOL Group. No financial details were announced. However, in July this year, TechCrunch estimated Friendster to worth around US$137 million. (UPDATE: TechCrunch reported Friendster valued at $26.4 Million in sales)

Why buy Friendster? According to the new MOL/Friendster Group CEO Ganesh Kumar Bangah, it’s because of its “strong South East Asia base… very focus, has a very strong following in Malaysia.” He believed “right localization,” in terms of features, contents and applications, is Friendster’s competitive strategy. Ultimately, he envisioned Friendster as South East Asia-centric community, a platform for Asian-ized contents and applications.

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Orsiso Is Getting Good At Aggregating Status and Photo Streams

OrSiSo logoOrsiso (or Organize, Simplify, Socialize) offers a functional approach to manage the deluge of your social networking and messaging online. It acts like a social streams dashboard, which aggregates and organizes status/photo streams (from Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, LinkedIn, Bebo, Friendster) and messaging (from popular IM networks like Messenger, Yahoo!, Google Talk). In the past weeks, Orsiso has been quick in releasing new version; each version update with new interface design and performance. Previous versions, buttons were lumpy, design was noisy and user-interface was not so, shall I say, spritely. Using it for the past 4 months, I must say the latest version 1.1.36 spot a more organized interface, more minimalist and much more perky.

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Snapshot of Social Networking in Malaysia

social networkingFacebook with 250 million users and these users are sharing over 10 billion photos. YouTube is streaming 1.2 billion videos a day, worldwide. The number of worldwide unique visitors of Twitter catapulted from 19 million in March 2009 to 32 million in April 2009 and each day, Twitter users are generating roughly 18 million updates. And according to comScore, social networking penetration rate worldwide was 65% in the month of May 2009, or 734.2 million Internet users across the globe accessing at least one social networking website during the month.

Malaysians love Social Networking too

There are about 16 million Internet users in Malaysia and IDC Research projected Malaysian Internet users will reach 20.4 million by 2012. In March this year, the number of Facebook users in Malaysia surpassed the one million mark. Kuala Lumpur SkylineRecently, a brief survey by YouthSays, Malaysia’s largest youth community website with over 160,000 members, showed 95% of a total of 900 respondents have Friendster’s account, 90% with Facebook and 38% with Twitter (This survey was presented at the recent Malaysian Media Congress 2009).

In Malaysia, the social networking penetration rate was 66.6% in December 2008 (see Table below), behind only to Singapore (74.3%) and South Korea (68%).

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