At a growth rate of 645% in 2008, Indonesia has been the fastest growing country on Facebook in Southeast Asia, outpacing growth in China, India, Malaysia, Thailand, and Singapore.
Surprisingly, the 831,000 Indonesians on Facebook are a small minority in their own country. With 0.4% penetration, they represent just a small portion of the of 237 million people in Indonesia.
There is stiff competition amongst social networks in southeast Asia. Friendster is the largest social network in Asia with about 65 million users. Following Friendster is Facebook (14 million), MySpace (15 million), CyWorld (Korea, 14 million), Hi5 (10 million), Orkut (10 million), Xiaonei (China, 5 million), 51.com (China, 5 million), and Bebo (4 million).
In Indonesia, Friendster was the first social network to translate into Bahasa Indonesian in March of this year. At the time, the social network already had ten times the number of users that Facebook has now and enthusiastic Bahasa speakers were signing up in droves. Friendster now claims almost 45% of the Indonesian market and has consistently been ranked by Alexa as the third most visited site and the largest social network both in Indonesia and in Asia.
Nevertheless, loyal Facebook users from Indonesia were requesting their own Bahasa Indonesian translations for months earlier this year. Today, both Bahasa Indonesia and Bahasa Melayu translations are available via Facebook’s crowd-sourced Translations tool.
Facebook’s strong growth that Indonesia shows that despite the large number of social networking services in Asia, Facebook can still grow significantly. We looking forward to seeing how Facebook finds new ways to grow in the region in the coming year.