Five Friday Facts #29


SingTel acquires food review site
Singaporeans take food very seriously, and infocomms provider SingTel‘s acquisition of local food review and recommendation site HungryGoWhere for US$9.4 million or S$12 million is making waves in the country. HungryGoWhere will merge with, a Singapore lifestyle and local search site, which is a subsidiary of Singtel as well. This merger will allow Singaporeans access to over 100,000 restaurant reviews, food-related deals and discounts, together with information on over 15,000 restaurants and hawker stalls across a spectrum of desktop, tablet and mobile devices. Currently, users can log in to HungryGoWhere with the Facebook Connect function, and discover the restaurants their Facebook friends are recommending. Reviews can also be shared across various social platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. This pool of social data could perhaps be one of the biggest draw of HungryGoWhere for SingTel.

Tencent dominates China’s online gaming market
Chinese Internet giant Tencent, which has social networks, instant messaging services and online and social games under its portfolio, is the clear leader of China’s online gaming sector with a 33.7% market share, followed by Netease with 17.3%, and Shanda with 16%. China’s online gaming revenues have grown to US$1.78 billion or S$2.27 billion, which indicates a 9.5% growth from the previous quarter. Steven Millward from Tech In Asia asserts that “social gaming is a large part of the reason behind the company having far-and-away China’s richest web portal.”

CEOs want more social with customers
IBM’s “Leading Through Connections” survey reveals that CEOs expect social media to account for 57% of their important customer interactions. Over 1,700 CEOs surveyed believe that social media will become one of the top 2 ways to engage customers within the next 5 years, and mainly at the expense of traditional media. Currently social media is the least utilised of all customer interaction methods, with 16% of CEOs surveyed using the channel to engage customers, compared to face-to-face, sales force and institutional representatives which 80% of CEOs surveyed use currently. Websites are also more popular at 47%, and 39% of CEOs surveyed rely on traditional advertising, even though it sees a 61% decrease in use in the next 5 years. As Enrique Salem, CEO of Symantec put it:

Social networking has and will continue to significantly change how we do business. The way we collaborate with our customers will be transformed.

The rise of social networks for videos
Video apps such as SocialCam and Viddy are seeing interest from brands, much like how these brands flocked to establish brand profiles on photo-sharing app Instagram after it took off. SocialCam operates like a social network for videos, where more than 50 million monthly active users record videos from their mobile phones or upload existing videos, and add filters or soundtracks to the videos, besides consuming and commenting on other users’ videos. Most users have been accessing the service online but the iPhone and Android apps have been downloaded 10 million times, which is pretty impressive. This has prompted brands such as General Electric, the Brooklyn Nets basketball team, Discovery Channel’s Shark Week and PepsiCo brands Sierra Mist and Brisk iced tea to launch brand pages, of which the latter two have amassed more than 85,000 followers apiece. Viddy has about 36 million users but limits the length of the videos to only 15 seconds long. So far brands like GE and fashion label Diane von Furstenberg have been using the app to capture snapshot videos.

National Geographic documents Mount Everest expedition with Instagram
National Geographic is using photo-sharing app Instagram to let viewers live vicariously through real time photo updates of an Everest expedition. Using Instagram to document the expedition for the very first time, National Geographic’s follower count shot up by 40,000 new followers in the past 8 weeks of the journey, to a total of over 60,000 followers to date. Besides Instagram, National Geographic has also been keeping its audience updated through its iPad app with exclusive content, and also held a Google+ Hangout at the Everest Base Camp. It’s great that National Geographic is engaging its audience through various social media channels to really accentuate the expedition in real time, that is, if the 3G network allows it.