Facebook, with over 1 billion monthly active users, has conquered the world, almost, and is now the dominant social network in 127 out of 137 countries, according to Internet ranker Alexa. But holdouts include key global markets essential for future Facebook growth.
So now there are just five big global social networks, down from 17 as recently as June 2009, as revealed by the cool and insightful gif by Vincenzo Cosenza displayed below. Facebook is the biggest by far, with over 1 billion monthly active users. Asia Represents the largest market for Facebook with 278 million users and further rapid growth expected. In Europe, it’s 251 million, with North America close behind at 243 million users. South America accounts for 142 million, and Africa 52 million.
But even with these impressive numbers, Facebook is incomplete without China. Behind the Great Firewall, Facebook is banned by government censors, yielding the filed to local favorite Qzone, followed closely by the two Weibo’s. Access to the Chinese market would push Facebook growth for years . My guess is that the corrupt communist kleptocracy that rules China with an iron fist will eventually sell out for the megabucks the Zuckster can stuff in the pockets of their kids. But so long as Zuckerberg refuses to compromise on open systems, China will be off-limits for the foreseeable future.
So, a Chinese Facebook joke from Jessi Hempel of Fortune:
Priscilla Chan, Facebook founder Mark Zuckenberg’s Chinese-American bride, brings Zuck to meet her extended family in Shanghai. “What do you do?” they ask him.
“I run the most popular website in the world,” he responds. So they plug “Facebook” into a browser, and nothing pops up.
“You’re a fraud! This Facebook doesn’t exist!” they reply.
Ha ha. I wonder if that joke is funny in Chinese.
In Russia, VK, (aka В Контакте) still dominates, with 195 million accounts reported. Russians are big social networkers and support another giant Odnoklassniki, (Classmates), a school reunion site with 50 million users.
But, Facebook has better prospects in Russia and also South Korea South Korea, where as of May last year, the global giant was number three in both markets, according to comScore via Robert Andrews.
Facebook is number three in Japan, but prospects don’t seem quite so bright. Thanks to the Japanese adoration of Twitter, says Andrews, Japanese are spending their networking time in the short form, no surprise coming from the land of haiku and keitai cell phone culture.
Facebook’s global roll-lup, while not quite complete, has been unprecedented. My question: is Facebook’s global success a case of Snowball Earth, where even the most reluctant users have been packed avalanche-style into this monster communications snowman crushing all in its path? Or is it that the power of Facebook transcends the barriers of language and culture to unite the whole human race with pictures of cats and birthday parties?
Please share your thoughts.
Which reminds me. I should plug my Facebook page.
This is the time of year for new year’s resolutions. So this year, let’s all make a resolution to like my Facebook page. It’s a feel-good kind of experience that I want to share with everyone to help make this the best 2013 ever.
Happy Facebooking in 2013!