Asian Growth on Facebook Lead by India in April 2010

India has at last taken the lead in growth for the Asian continent, a position that it may continue to hold for a good long time. It’s hard to argue with a population of 1.1 billion people; and China, the only country in the world with a higher population, doesn’t allow Facebook. We’re reporting on the April numbers from our latest Global Monitor, which tracks Facebook’s growth in almost 100 countries worldwide.

The amazing thing is that India can add 1.4 million new users in a single month, yet still linger below one percent penetration. But significant growth on Facebook is still a fairly new phenomenon for India. Besides vast numbers of its citizens still lacking an internet connection altogether, India’s social network of choice has been Google’s Orkut for several years. Even now, its total number of monthly active Facebook users remains under 10 million.

Provided Facebook can keep the attention of Indian users, though, that number will grow greatly; for now, we’ll just have to wait and see whether Facebook reports continued gains through this month (we source our data from Facebook’s advertising tool).

Following India on our chart, below, are a pair of countries that have a much clearer trend: Indonesia and the Philippines, which form a trio with Malaysia. Both Indonesia and Malaysia grew slower in April as compared to March, while the Philippines did a bit better. But these Pacific Rim countries are in for the long haul, as Friendster, which had a redoubt in the region, fades away.

Australia, Hong Kong and New Zealand all surprised by showing up in the top growers, especially as the first two have topped 40 percent penetration. Their gains may reflect a snap-back from lower growth around February and March. Still, we think New Zealand is the only one of the three that’s still likely to grow significantly; since it’s relatively a small country, it will likely top 40 percent eventually as well.

And South Korea has also crept into the rankings, with seemingly high 30 percent growth. Keep in mind, though, that fewer than a million people use Facebook in the country, and there are a number of local alternatives. Like India, South Korea’s future growth is far from guaranteed. Here are all of the top ten growers, in order:

As a region, Asian growth went up from its 7.5 percent March figure to 9.5 percent in April, about eight million new monthly active users for Facebook in all. That leaves it with an audience 93.2 million and 2.5 percent penetration, out of that whopping population of 3.75 billion. Note that Facebook’s advertising tool runs at least a few weeks behind, so all the figures are likely a bit higher than you’re seeing here.

Our full Global Monitor, May 2010 edition, is available through Inside Facebook Gold, our data and analysis membership. In addition to the in-depth Global Monitor growth data, Inside Facebook Gold also presents independent analysis on developments, risks and opportunities in the Facebook business ecosystem.

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