While Facebook’s Chinese translation plans are not yet finalized, some Platform application developers are already gaining big traction in Hong Kong, China, and Southeast Asia. As Asian social networks start to open up their own application platforms – as major Chinese social network 51.com recently announced – the social networking application economy is heating up in the region.
One of the leading companies already gaining steam on the Facebook Platform is Hong Kong-based developer 6 waves. 6 waves is developing applications both for itself and major Hong Kong brands. I recently spoke with Rex Ng, Co-Founder and Managing Director of 6 waves, to learn more about the company and the state of the Facebook Platform in the region.
Rex, what is your vision for 6 waves?
Our vision is to create innovative and fun applications that enable users to connect with their interests and each other for all Chinese communities in the world.
We have over 35 apps as of now (growing at 1 app per week), that can be grouped into Dating, Entertainment, Gifts, Travel, and Utilities. We try to create localized apps that favor Chinese audience/culture for now.
How important is Facebook in China and Hong Kong today?
In Hong Kong, Facebook is important – there are over 1 million Facebook users in Hong Kong according to Comscore. It is the highest ranking non-English speaking country, although most Hong Kong people speak English as second language.
As for China, the landscape is really different. Facebook ranks around 70th to 80th according to Alexa, which is not the most accurate, but it’s a good benchmark. Social networking services in China are still very fragmented, with 51.com and Xiaonei taking the lead.
What kinds of apps are working well in Hong Kong and China?
Gift related apps are very popular – Chinese people love trendy gift items (e.g. gadget, designer bags, etc). Also, apps with virtual currency and social ranking are working well. I think this works well anywhere in the world, since most people care a whole lot about their social ranking.
How have you connected to major media buyers, either directly or through an agency or rep firm?
Both actually. We have presented to all the major agencies in Hong Kong, and we also have direct sales that connect with potential clients. We also run promotions within our app network on Facebook and do IP targeting.
What has been your most successful branded application campaign so far?
As of late, we created an app for PCCW called Moov, a popular fee-based music service in Hong Kong. They have year round concerts to promote various local artists. We created an app that enables users to create music videos featuring their friends. We got extremely positive review from both the client as well as wall comments from users.
How many firms are there working on social network applications in HK?
There are fewer than 10 firms that work specifically on social networking apps, but many production houses also create apps for clients.