Friendster Looks for Revival With $20 Million and New CEO

Friendster, the social networking site that has been long-forgotten by most in the United States, is looking to ramp up its business with a fresh influx of cash and the hiring of a new CEO. The company is hiring Richard Kimber, an ex-Googler who ran the South Asian operations at the search giant. This makes a lot of sense considering Friendster is the largest social network in Southeast Asia, primarily in the Philippines and Singapore.

Currently the company has over 75 million registered users but the Asian market for social networks is still in its early phase. There is increasing competition from both local start-ups as well as Facebook and MySpace who have both made significant strides in Asia to expand their presence. So will Friendster rise to become the largest Asian social network?

Possibly. They have a significant lead over competitors and they continue to grow rapidly in Friendster. The business model in Asia is significantly different though since advertising spending abroad is substantially less than in the United States. Many of the competing social networks generate a large portion of their revenue from virtual gifts rather than advertising.

What’s clear is that the Asian market for social networks has yet to play out. Over the coming years we will see fierce competition where a number of large players have substantial war chests and sizable traction. For the time being it looks like Friendster will continue their upward momentum in the region.