Friendster targets mobile phone users in RP
By DAVID DIZON
After conquering the social networking market in the Philippines, social networking pioneer Friendster is now setting its sights on mobile phone users in the country.
Friendster USA vice-president for marketing David Jones said the company is now branching out into the mobile social networking market with the launch of its new mobile site m.friendster.com on Tuesday.
Jones said Friendster's popularity in the Philippines and the Filipinos' high usage of mobile phones makes it the perfect test market for the company's mobile site. He said 94 percent of Internet users in the Philippines have a Friendster account, making the company the number one social networking site in the country.
"For mobile, the Philippines is definitely a big market especially being one of the more mobile connected countries in the world and having the highest SMS usage per subscriber anywhere. In terms of e-commerce, that's still coming along here as well as Asia in general. We hope to work with partners through the developer program to introduce applications to our members that involve e-commerce," he told abs-cbnNEWS.com.
He said small and medium sized business could sign up and build a fan profile on Friendster and promote it in the local Friendster community.
Jones said m.friendster.com can be accessed through any mobile phone with Internet browsing capability. He said regular Friendster users can browse the site to search for users, check their profile pages and read messages including friend invites, shoutouts and even horoscopes. He added that the service is currently open only to existing Friendster users but will soon allow non-users to open their own Friendster account via mobile phone.
Jones said the success of Web portal qq.com in China shows the feasibility of entering the potentially lucrative mobile market. He said the portal had $523 million in revenues last year, 13 percent of which came from advertising. At least 63 percent of its earnings came from Internet value added services while the remaining 24 percent came from mobile services.
He said that in Indonesia, many Friendster users also access the site through their mobile phones.
Number 1 social networking site in Asia
Jones said the success of Friendster in Asia, particularly in the Philippines, stems from the strong familial culture of Asians. He said that some of Friendster's first users when it started in 2003 were Chinese and Filipino immigrants in the San Francisco Bay area who were seeking to connect with friends and relatives back home.
"Filipinos are very family oriented, a very social people and Friendster is hopefully doing a job of getting them connected," he said.
He said Friendster is currently ranked the third most popular social networking site in the world with over 68 million registered users. It is still the number 1 social networking site in Asia with over 50 million registered users and 34 monthly unique visitors.
Jones said Friendster users in Asia are primarily 16-30 years old. Fifty-five percent of Friendster users in the region are female and the rest are male.
Friendster is also offered in eight languages including Vietnamese and Chinese.