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June 15th, 2011 by Mythreyi Krishnan under Commentary

Social media across Asia : Indonesia

Indonesia, the 4th largest country in the world and one of the most populous also happens to be a huge social media fan. The nation is particularly obsessed with Twitter and is home to the 2nd highest number of users in Asia, according to comSCORE. A staggering 20.8% of internet users in Indonesia visited Twitter.com in January. It is estimated that Indonesian users make up for 15% of all tweets globally and are the sixth biggest twitter user base in the world.

Indonesia-social-Media

As for facebook, Indonesia has the 2nd highest number of users in the world. This isn’t surprising as internet is mostly used for social networking, photo sharing and watching videos by Indonesia netizens. A breakdown of the trending topics from January 2011 shows that conversations online mostly revolve around entertainment including soccer, music, television shows etc.

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Source : Silang Silang

However, social media has also evolved into another role, that of a social watchdog. Indonesians are harnessing their social networks to speak out about everyday issues including politics and civic issues. For instance, when Michelle Obama shook hands with a conservative Muslim minister on an official visit to the country, this seemingly small incident sent the twitter sphere buzzing with many criticizing the minister and accusing him of being hypocritical to traditional Islamic customs.

In another case, when the Social Services minister was spotted driving his car in a dedicated ‘bus only lane’, an alert passerby promptly snapped a photo and uploaded it on twitter. More than 10000 views and numerous angry comments later, the minister responded accepting full responsibility and agreeing to pay the fine voluntarily. A more positive example is the “Save Jakarta” movement on twitter which encourages ordinary citizens to point out problems they were facing in the city everyday and make suggestions for improvement. This became an instant viral hit and empowered faceless online citizens to take charge of their city.

Interestingly, internet users in Indonesia surf the net and connect with each other more using their smartphones, the main reason being that it’s cheap! With the three main telecommunications companies in the country constantly butting heads over market share, service plans are very affordable especially in comparison to home broadband plans which can cost up to $100 monthly. Coupled with the advent of affordable smartphones from China, Indonesian users are spoilt for choice.

Currently, there are 31 million users who make up an eighth of the 242 million strong population. By 2015, this is predicted to rise to 94 million users. It goes without  saying that marketers are taking full advantage of this new medium to reach out to all sections of the population.

June 1st, 2011 by Mythreyi Krishnan under Commentary

Social media across Asia : China

In countries across Asia, young people have made similar number friends offline as they have made online. But, in China, youngsters actually have made a larger pool of friends online as a combination of socio-economic factors coupled with higher rate of internet penetration has led to a union of online and offline lives. Due to rural-urban migration many youngsters are separated from their families and find social networking a convenient way to keep in touch with those back home. Another reason often cited is the one child policy which has resulted in most young people growing up in single child homes. Social media has given them a chance to connect to people and share information on a daily basis.

Note that compared to internationally popular sites like facebook, myspace, YouTube and twitter, home-grown social networking sites are used heavily by the Chinese population. After the government disabled these platforms, numerous home-grown clone sites sprung up catering to various segments of the market. Some sites are more popular among 1st tier cities while others cater to 2nd and lower tiered cities. Accordingly, preference varies according to age as well. Techrice used their data to come up with the distribution across segments shown below.

China segmented

Qzone : Launched in 2005, this is the biggest site in terms of number of users which ranges anywhere between 300-480 million registered users according to various reports. Users are able to write blogs, keep an online diary and listen to music. This site is most popular among 2nd tier and 3rd tier cities in China.

Pengyou : Launched by the same company as Qzone, Pengyou meaning “friend” caters to both students and white collar workers. Pengyou is a networking platform for friends in real life whereas Qzone is mostly a network for instant messaging friends on QQ, the most popular IM platform in China.

Renren : this site has around 160 million registered users and is still growing. It is very popular among young people in 1st and 2nd tier cities, especially university students. It started off as Xiaonei.com, and was considered a carbon coby of Facebook with similar layout and the trademark shade of blue. Now, Renren has gained its own place in the social media space in China with 31 million active users monthly. In April 2011, it filed for an IPO in the US offering shares on the NYSE raising over US$743 million dollars.

Kaixin001: Another facebook clone that became one of the fastest growing sites in China by launching apps and games that is available on facebook. Kaixin, unlike Renren is targeted at the white collar worker who spends upto 9 hours in front of the computer each day. Accordingly the user interface is simpler and designed to be more intuitive to use.

Some unique usage patterns

  • Chinese netizens are the most likely to share a negative product review online. 62% of them attested to this compared to the global average of 41%
  • Personal: 1. Staying in touch is the most frequent use of social media 2.Read content 3.Make new friend
  • Business use: 1. Highlight personal expertise 2. Build network contacts  3. Identify lead
  • Chinese state-owned companies have been a late and slow adopter of social media compared to Chinese private firms and foreign subsidiaries in China.

china-internet-users-2010

According to a report last year, China has close to 460 million internet users with 34.3% internet penetration. This is up 19.1% from 2009 and still growing. With such a massive pool of potential consumers, the scope for monitoring is boundless. Web analytics is still shaky in China but monitoring what this community says about your brand is essential for any company.  According to a Nielson poll, Chinese netizens are the most likely to share a negative product review online, 62% of them attested to this compared to the global average of 41%. With stats like these, it would be prudent to have a constant eye on one of the most lucrative online communities in the world.

May 30th, 2011 by Mythreyi Krishnan under Commentary

Digital media trends 2011: Asia Pacific

The good folks at Edelman have recently released data on the use of social media in the Asia Pacific region for 2011. It is perhaps expected, that Facebook features as the most popular networking platform across most countries. In China, Renren rules whereas Twitter and Cyworld are the most popular in Japan and South Korea respectively. Overall, Facebook seems to be the common denominator across the region. However, it is interesting to note that there is variance in regards to what each community uses the internet to do. For instance, more than 90% of Vietnamese netizens read and write blogs whereas only 50.7% of Indians spend time on the blogosphere, preferring to use the internet for social networking.

In order to delve deeper into these variances, we will be studying one country each week to explore how and why people use social media. We will also look at trends pertaining to that particular region and what this means for companies and brands operating there.

Look out for our upcoming feature on China!

APAC-Social-Media-Map

May 18th, 2011 by Mythreyi Krishnan under Commentary

Tracking the Microsoft-Skype deal

A little more than a week ago, speculation about Microsoft’s plans to acquire skype began spreading all over the blogosphere. Once the deal was made official on May 10th, this speculation snowballed into frenzy – there was immense interest and activity online centred around this topic. Using our social media monitoring tool, we tracked all this activity for the past week to find out what people are saying and how they feel about this announcement.

Here’s a visual perspective of frequently appearing keywords.

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Click on the image for bigger picture

It is worth noting that keywords such as Baidu and China also came up as there is already more speculation about Microsoft’s next major acquisition – Baidu, the number one Search Engine in China, with 63% market share as of 2010. Other than that, there was also much talk about how skype was all set to acquire a Swedish start-up called MyWidz before the Microsoft buy out.

The reason why there is so much interest in the deal is because many of us use skype regularly; In fact, it’s so popular that “skype” is now a verb just like “google”. So, it’s no surprise that people are starting to wonder how this deal will affect their skyping experience from now on. Perhaps the most interesting angle to explore here is ‘how do people actually feel about this deal?’. We used the JamiQ sentiment detection tool to find out.

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Media types sentiment

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