Research firm Gartner says that the dominant social network sites of Europe and North America have yet to extend their reach into parts of Asia Pacific where local sites still win the consumer mind share.
Successful locally developed social sites include Friendster, Cyworld, Mixi and RenRen. Site owners have already created subscriber bases that are supported by profitable business models.
“The Asia Pacific social media market is highly diverse and in many places evolving rapidly,” said Nick Ingelbrecht, Research Director at Gartner. “While global sites fare better in more westernised Asian markets such as Australia, some of Asia's biggest markets have evolved their own unique social network services distinct from those of Europe and North America.”
The growth of social networking in China, Japan and South Korea is being driven by online games, while in India it’s online dating and matchmaking sites that lead the charge.
“Niche social sites serving the business and dating communities appear to have the greatest longevity in Asia Pacific,” continued Ingelbrecht. “Building an early critical mass of local users, featuring local language and content provides a good basis for sustaining a long term and loyal user base.”
Ingelbrecht concluded, “Strong as the major social sites are today, however, we do not believe that any of them will dominate social media indefinitely in Asia Pacific.”