I whispered it under my breath as I boarded the plane from Washington D.C. to Hong Kong. I wrote it on post-it notes. I even considered getting it tattooed on my arm: Don’t Say the F-Word. Don’t say Facebook. Not here. Not in Asia.
As a recent Ogilvy transplant from Washington D.C. and the newest member of the APAC Digital Influence team based in Hong Kong, I knew I’d have a long list of client introductions and a few speaking engagements within my first 30 days. As I prepared for the move, I was hyper-sensitive to the idea that I’d be a newcomer to the region and spent considerable time studying the major social sites for the APAC region. All of this in an effort to avoid dropping the F-word when I should have said “Orkut” or “Mixi” or any one of the other social networks. You might say I had an America Social Media Accent and I tried to loose it before I landed in Hong Kong.
Well, for those like me still learning the statistics that shape the social web in Asia, I have news for you. Drop the F-bomb. Drop it often. Facebook, now more than ever, reigns supreme in most Asia Pacific regions with a dominate social network. According to comSore, Facebook is the dominate social network for 9 out of the 12 APAC regions. And, for markets in which the dominate social network really dominates (e.g. over 60% web penetration) the figure jumps to 7 out of 8.
Does that mean all my studying was for nothing? Certainly not. Every market is unique and worthy of special exploration. While a few of the regions may share a similar social site (e.g. Facebook) that doesn’t mean there are not drastic differences in the way people consume media and share content online. The mosaic of cultures and web behaviors that make up this region are more than any one blog post could possibly address. Though, after 30 days of working in the APAC Digital Influence group, I can report that Facebook is alive and well in most corners of the world. And yes, I hear the Facebook Bomb dropped on most days, just like in the US.
This report did not include China in which Facebook and most other networks are banned. You can read up on the social networks that call China home (and all things related to mainland China) by following our Asia Digital Map China tag here. Hat tip to Ogilvy’s Daniel Brenikov for his recent post exploring Facebook’s growth across Southeast Asia.