Facebook Penetration Still Weak In Asia; Malaysians Overwhelmingly Choose Friendster

This story was written by David Kaplan.
With ad agencies like WPP Group increasingly focused on Asia, Nicholas Guan, a Social Media Researcher at the ad holding company's OgilvyOne unit, decided to look at the prospects for marketers considering ads across Facebook. The verdict: Facebook is fine for reaching Americans and those educated in the west, but there are plenty of other social nets throughout Asia that are much more popular. Using Google (NSDQ: GOOG) Insights, he compared Facebook with the most popular social nets in each Asian country. While cautioning that the results are not quite accurate since Google is not the number one search engine in most Asian countries, the numbers are meant as a rough gauge of where Facebook stands. (Earlier today, Joseph posted an item about Japan's most popular social net, Mixi, and its plans to expand its presence in the U.S. and Europe.)



-- It pays to speak the language: In China, Xiaonei, which is essentially a Facebook clone, trounces the original with a volume pegged at 68 percent compared to 27 percent. And while in the U.S., Friendster can't touch Facebook, the opposite is true in Malaysia. Although Facebook numbers are steadily rising there, Guan says this is mainly among more westernized Malaysians and American expats. Friendster's dominance in Malaysia is due to its early market entry and more importantly, offers the Bahasa Malayu language which is the primary language used in Malaysia.




By David Kaplan
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