Facebook’s Asian Growth: Not Everywhere is North

I’ve seen some posts recently suggesting that Facebook is not doing well in Asia-Pacific. This, for example, from Forrester’s Reineke Reitsma:

For example, Facebook is struggling to gain ground in Asia Pacific:

With 58% of online adults accessing it, Orkut is the leading social platform in metropolitan India, while 27% of Japanese online adults use mixi; and in South Korea, Cyworld is most popular, attracting 63% of South Korean Internet users.

I won’t quarrel with her stats, but I’d suggest she’s missing a bigger picture: Facebook is growing at quite a clip in many Asian countries. My figures, based on Facebook data—which doesn’t include Japan and South Korea, admittedly–indicate that in 10 Asia-Pacific countries, Facebook membership has been growing at an average of nearly 9% per month for the past five months. That includes Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, Hong Kong, China and India.

By far the biggest growth is in Southeast Asia, with Indonesia growing at 14% per month, Thailand 15%, Malaysia 12% and Philippines 13%.

India is growing at a similar rate, but with a far smaller proportion of population: still less than 1%. Thailand is less than 5%, but 10% of Indonesians now have a Facebook account, as do 23% of Malaysians, 14% of Filipinos and 42% of Singaporeans. Only Hong Kong beats that, with 44% of the population having a Facebook account.

Hong Kong and Singapore join other developed economies at reaching a critical mass—Australia 38%, New Zealand 36%—where growth has understandably tapered off to 5% per month or less.

So while it may well be true that Facebook ain’t big in North Asia, it’d be a mistake to assume that’s true of the rest of the Asia-Pacific region. Facebook is still the one to watch, and showing consistent growth this year in all 10 countries I’m monitoring.

(This updates my post back in January on Facebook stats.)

News: Hanging’s Too Good For Spammers, Says Joe Public

 Just when you thought there was nothing more to say about spam, someone goes and says something. This time it’s the turn of Harris Interactive, which has conducted two polls. (Neither seem to be on their website at the time of posting this.) Their conclusions?
  • 80% of online adults (whatever that means) now favor making mass-spamming illegal. Only 10% oppose doing so.
  • On average people online estimate that they receive more than 40 emails a day, including those at home, work or at other locations, and that 40% of these emails are spam.
  • The types of email which annoy the most people a lot are pornography (86%), mortgages and loans (71%), prescription drugs such as Viagra (60%), and investments (59%). Many, but fewer people, are annoyed a lot by spam selling real estate (51%), software (36%) and computer and other hardware (31%).
All that makes sense. But there are paradoxes. Those who favor making spamming illegal have increased (from 74% last December to 79% now). But those who find spamming very annoying have declined from 80% last year to 64% now, and somewhat fewer people (but still substantial majorities) are annoyed a lot by the main types of spam. Harris reckons that “while people may have become more efficient at identifying and deleting spam, this has not in any way reduced their desire to eliminate or reduce it”. That, or people are getting used to spam.