The State of Social in Asia (March 2013)

by Simon Kemp in News

We Are Social - Active Social Network Users in Asia March 2013

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We’re pleased to share the latest of our SDMW snapshots for social media use around Asia.

Today’s snapshot offers a more comparable definition of ‘users’, and is based solely on active users*, rather than the overall user numbers we used for some countries in previous reports where active user data was not available.

Social Media Users
Despite this recalibration, the total number of social media users across the top network in each of our 24 SDMW Asia nations has increased to 874 million, reflecting 18% growth compared to our last full report in October.

This represents growth of more than 10 million new users of social media every month – a figure that’s all the more impressive considering Facebook’s recent clean up of ‘fake’ accounts.

Penetration
However, social media penetration has fluctuated around the region in the past few months, with a number of ‘mature’ markets – including Brunei, Singapore and Hong Kong – registering a drop in penetration as the frequency of Facebook usage begins to slow.

Overall though, regional penetration remained static at 23%, in line with the overall global average:

We Are Social - Active Social Network Penetration in Asia March 2013

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More importantly, the drop in penetration across mature markets has been balanced by on-going growth in markets like India and Indonesia, both of which continue to see social media usage expand at impressive rates.

Mobile Chat
However, the most interesting story comes from North Asia, where we’re seeing accelerating mass adoption of mobile chat applications.

Neither Japan nor Korea was a ‘Facebook market’ in our previous report – Korea’s primary social network was CyWorld, while Japanese social media users appeared to prefer Twitter – but the rapid growth of newer chat platforms may scupper the world’s favourite network’s plans to grow in these countries.

Indeed, KakaoTalk and Line already dominate the social media landscapes of South Korea and Japan respectively, with both platforms registering significantly more users than Facebook and microblogs.

Similarly, while Qzone continues to be the region’s largest social network by active users, we expect to see this situation change in the coming months as a result of the increased implementation of China’s real name rules for social media use, and the continued expansion of platforms like WeChat (Weixin).

Indeed, WeChat’s success beyond its home market of China looks set to be one of the biggest social media stories in Asia over the next few months.

At well over 300 million registered users, WeChat is already 15% bigger than Facebook in Asia, and its growth trajectory suggests that this gap will only increase further during 2013.

Given these trends, it’s clear that mobile’s role in the Asian social media landscape looks set to grow in importance, so look out for our upcoming post on using mobile to connect with Asian social audiences.

* Figures reflect monthly active users, except for Korea where we’ve used daily active user numbers. Note that user numbers for Japan and Korea have been extrapolated from available data.

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