Wednesday, September 16, 2009

BBC News on Facebook's entry into northeast Asia

Is Facebook about to lose face in tongbook Asia? Huh? Huh? Get it?

Ah, what else do you expect at 2:30 a.m., Shakespearean prose? You're lucky I'm spelling most of the words correctly and my grammar's halfway coherent.

Um, anyway, BBC News has an interesting piece on Facebook's attempts to crack the social networking nut in Northeast Asia, but it's facing censorship, divergent expectations for communications, and different aesthetic notions that tend toward the cute:
South Korea is another of the heavily social networking hubs in East Asia. Its local Facebook rival Cyworld has made it virtually impossible for the western site to make an entrance.

Cyworld boasts an impressive 24 million registered members and about 10 million users visit the site each week.

It makes good use of mobile integration and has successfully kept ahead of the game by locking in their users through integration with NateOn - South Korea's number one instant messaging service with about five times more users than MSN messenger.

"Western sites are often perceived to be too function-orientated and somewhat crass to Korean users who are accustomed to a 'cute' and 'decorative' user interface," explained Dyne Lee, assistant manager of Cyworld.

It is also a good example of the money making abilities of East Asian social network sites. Cyworld provides a "Minihompy" - a personal profile that can be decorated with purchased digital items. About 70bn won (£35m) in these digital items is purchased each year on the site.
Hey, more power to 'em if Facebook can offer something new and innovative that their homegrown competitors don't have.

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