We Are Social Asia Tuesday TuneUp #48


WeChat launches in Indonesia
China-built cross platform messaging application, WeChat (known as Weixin in China) has launched in Indonesia. The potential is immense as Indonesia’s the world’s 4th most populous country with a population of 237 million people, slightly larger than WeChat’s worldwide user base of 200 million. The latest development is expected to put pressure on competitors such as WhatsApp and Line to make similar moves in addition to threatening Blackberry’s BBM’s dominance in Indonesia. WeChat’s popular integrated social networking features such as hold-to-talk voice messaging, ‘Moments’ status update and photo sharing features are expected to give the hybrid chat app a leg up with Indonesian users. Likewise, the features can prove attractive to advertisers seeking to leverage on the reach offered by the product.

Twitter vs Weibo
Last week we mentioned that Chinese Twitter users are the most active despite being blocked in China. Whilst Twitter is the dominant microblog service in the US, China has 2 homegrown microblog platforms, Sina Weibo and Tencent Weibo, that are very popular within the mainland and increasingly beyond its shores. Given China’s massive population size and an increasingly affluent society that is wired and crazy about social networking, the twin threats that Sina Weibo and Tencent Weibo pose to Twitter’s microblog-dom’s dominance should not be ignored even if they currently do not have a stronghold on English-speakers. Check out the infographic comparing the 3 platforms here.

Indonesian Instagram users can now print photos with Instalogi
Prinstagram-clone Instalogi allows Indonesian Instagram users to print photos in addition to photobooks and stickers. Launched on September 1st, users can sign into their Instagram accounts on the Instalogi site, pick the photos they want printed, check them out, pay, send a confirmation and wait for the prints to be delivered. The startup’s founder Kemas Dimas revealed that plans are underway to develop a mobile web version of the product and that they’ll be holding an event with iPhonesia, the largest iPhone-based photography community in Indonesia.

WhatsApp offers unlimited messaging service for Indian college students
Making a play for the world’s 2nd most populous country, WhatsApp  has partnered with Reliance to offer unlimited usage of its messaging service to college students. Reliance’s College Package is a prepaid plan offering students unlimited access to WhatsApp and Facebook for INR 16 (S$ 0.37) a month. The plan excludes calls and SMSes.

The deal will provide WhatsApp with an advantage as it competes with Indian-developed Nimbuzz which hit the 100 million users milestone recently with most of its users residing on the Indian subcontinent. WhatsApp has also struck deals with operators in Thailand, Hong Kong and Indonesia. Notably, Indonesian top operator, Telkomsel has added WhatsApp along with Line and KakaoTalk to its US$3 (S$3.69) unlimited monthly plan. India is on the radar too for Blackberry which doubled its sales presence and launched budget devices. It faces stiff competition though from Samsung which is the leading brand for Android devices in the country.

LinkedIn opens regional office in Dubai
US-based LinkedIn has opened a new regional office in Dubai, its first in the Middle Eastern region with more than a million members signing up within the United Arab Emirates alone. In February 2012, LinkedIn reported more than 44 million members in Europe, Middle East and Africia out of 175 million members worldwide. The company’s influence is reportedly growing at a strong pace with 2 new members signing up every second. Having recently hit 10 million members in the UK and 62% of its users residing outside of its homebase in the US, LinkedIn could be the next social networking behemoth to watch.

Facebook cracks down on fake accounts
Some page admins are reporting that they are losing tens of thousands of fans as Facebook deletes fake and spam accounts. Facebook estimates that on average, pages shouldn’t lose more than 1% of its fan base, though we hope marketers aren’t too worried by these fans who didn’t contribute to engagement anyway.

Facebook adds gift giving for big occasions
You really have no excuse for forgetting to buy a birthday present — now when Facebook reminds you of a friend’s birthday, you’ll also get the option to give a gift in the real world (at least if you live in the US). Browse the selection of $5 Starbucks gift cards, $35 cupcakes and more, enter your bank card details and voila, no birthday will be left behind. Facebook will be celebrating with presents for itself as well, as it takes a slice of each of the transactions and gets valuable data about its users, like their street addresses and bank account information.

Dropbox links up with Facebook Groups
Facebook Groups just got more useful with the announcement of Dropbox support, and users can now share files after linking their Facebook account with Dropbox. Other group members can like and comment  on the update, just like a regular post, and the group will automatically be notified if the file has been updated.

Instagram shoots past Twitter in daily mobile users
Maybe pictures are worth more than words now: For the first time ever, American smartphone owners spent more time browsing Instagram than Twitter and visited the Instagram app more frequently. Even though Twitter had more unique US smartphone visitors (29 million for Twitter and 22 million for Instagram), Instagram’s users are more engaged. In August, Instagram had an average of 7.3 million daily active users, compared to Twitter’s 6.9 million. And Instagrammers spent 257 minutes on the app on average, as opposed to 170 minutes on Twitter. How soon until Facebook figures out how to monetize these numbers?

Twitter beefs up ‘Discover’
Twitter continues to improve its Discover tab, a personalized finger-in-the-wind where the site tries to pick up what it thinks you’ll like reading about. Twitter has changed up the design, which now features a continuous stream of tweets that automatically expand to show photos.

LinkedIn adds ‘kudos’ for skills
In one click, your LinkedIn connections will now be able to give you endorsements for your skills and expertise, as well as make recommendations for ones you should add, in something much akin to a Facebook ‘Like’ or a +1. Skills are now vertically ranked based on the number of endorsements received from your colleagues, and you’ll be notified via e-mail and on the site when you’ve been given some LinkedIn love.  This is available in the US, India, New Zealand and Australia, but LinkedIn promises it will be coming to more countries soon.

Myspace is bringing sexy back
We were sure that Myspace had been forever banished to the Internet graveyard, but then Justin Timberlake jumped on board and brought it back from the dead. Justin, along with Chris and Tim Vanderhook who bought the site in June 2011, have completely revamped it and hope to make it a social destination for artists looking to connect to their fans. If nothing else, the tech press is going gaga, and for good reason: The site is just downright pretty. The design looks like it has been heavily influenced by Tumblr and Pinterest, and keeping with the Pinterest vibe, the new Myspace invite-only for the moment. Myspace looks like it wants to play nice with Twitter and Facebook to populate your profile with photos and data so that new users aren’t starting from scratch. Get the grand tour of the new Myspace (as much as we can see now anyway) here.

Foursquare introduces personalized maps
Fed up with Apple’s maps on iOS 6? Foursquare has released its new update just in time. The Explore is getting better and better, and the latest update has a much more efficient search system, which gives a higher ranking to what’s popular in the area and what your friends like. And just like the website, the mobile app can now show a personalized map highlighting places you have or haven’t been before and where your friends have been.

StumbleUpon unveils redesign
Not to be outdone by Pinterest and other social networks, StumbleUpon has gotten a makeover that makes the random-internet-discovery-engine more personal and social. Users can now see what’s trending, find out what’s highly recommended by StumbleUpon “experts” and curate lists of their favorite content. Sounds pretty Pinterest-y. But StumbleUpon does seem to be going its own direction by incorporating personal profile analytics, such as your Stumble DNA, which shows the types of content you like best.

What can you buy for a tweet?
Kellogg’s has opened a pop-up shop in London where the cost of a bag of crisps is just one tweet. The experiment ended on Friday, but seems to have gone well, with hundreds of tweets and even spambots picking up the #tweetshop hashtag.

Paddy Power takes Twitter to the skies
To cheer on Europe during the Ryder Cup, Paddy Power bought the hashtag #GoEurope, but then took its tweets even further by putting them up in the clouds with a team of skywriters, which made the tweets visible up to 20 miles away. And all of Paddy Power’s support seems to have paid off, with Europe taking home the top slot and tweets using the hashtag from big names in golf.

KFC targets women in its first UK social media campaign
KFC has made a viral video featuring comedian Jenny Bede asking women to share their “it doesn’t count if…” stories about unhealthy eating on social media. While we’ve all been there (daily … it’s Monday, okay?!), it’s hard to imagine many women changing their perceptions of KFC from this video (especially nutrition-wise), one of the supposed goals of the campaign.

55DSL paints the town with ideas
What would you do if you had 55 seconds to live? Inspired by the brand’s recent launch in India, Diesel’s 55DSL has asked this question, and followers can see their best ideas “graffitied” on buildings on the brand’s site. The more tweets that are sent in with the #55secondstolive hashtag, the quicker the next level will be unlocked, which promises prizes to the top tweeters at each interval.

David Cameron says he’ll join Twitter
The UK’s Prime Minister himself has promised to join Twitter in hopes to communicate more directly with people, despite his past reservations about the social network. His office already uses the @Number10Gov handle, but having his own account will allow him to talk politics more personally. No word on what that handle will be, though@PrimeMinister looks suspiciously suitable.