Indonesia Became Facebook’s Third-Largest Country in May 2010

[Editor’s Note: The following stats are excerpted from Inside Facebook Gold, our membership service tracking Facebook’s business and growth around the world. Click here to learn more about our complete data and analysis offering.]

Today we’re taking a look at Facebook’s growth in the pan-Asian region during May 2010, with data from our latest Global Monitor stats. There’s one country that stands head and shoulders above the rest: Indonesia, which added a whopping 2.4 million new monthly active users in May to become Facebook’s third-largest country with 22.4 million MAU overall.

Indonesia actually had a shot at becoming number two, but was foiled by the United Kingdom’s strong growth in May. But the UK is at 44.4 percent penetration; few countries ever pass 50 percent. Indonesia, by contrast, is still only at 10.8 percent penetration.

It seems increasingly likely that the archipelago country, with 227 million inhabitants, will stand second only to the United States by the end of 2010. That should happen despite the relatively low penetration of Facebook among older inhabitants; past the age of 34 very few Indonesians have signed up for the social network, and it has one of the largest 18-25 age groups we’ve seen.

We cover Indonesia’s demographics in more detail here. Meanwhile, if we zoom out to take the greater Asia Pacific region into account, we can clearly see it becoming a major force on Facebook. The Philippines and Malaysia, both in the same area, respectively added 902,580 and 671,220 new MAU to reach total penetrations of 15.2 and 24.8 percent — leaving plenty of room to grow.

Coming in at fourth is Australia, which for the purposes of regional measurement we include with Asia. The island continent did quite well in May, adding half a million new MAU to Facebook. But like the UK, its penetration is already quite high. For now, most English-speaking countries seem to be trending upward, but all are likely to find new upper limits to their penetration before long.

India, at number five, disappointed in May. In our previous monthly look at Asia, which measured April’s stats, India came in at the top of the pile, leading us to speculate that it could lead the region for a time. It certainly has the population to do so, but the country’s growth has remained volatile in terms of Facebook growth. It also added a half-million new users, but in the general scale of things, that’s not so impressive; its penetration remains unchanged at 0.8 percent.

Take a look over the bottom half of the list, and you’ll mainly see much smaller countries with higher internet connectivity rates. The exception is South Korea, which does have a high population. But this hyper-connected country has remained fairly intractable to Facebook; even now it has only 714,540 MAUs on Facebook. Here’s the chart:

Measured as a whole, the Asian region’s growth rate fell slightly in May to 7.3 percent, with its penetration rising slightly to 2.7 percent. The total audience in the region is at 100 million, about a fifth of Facebook’s total.

As always, this data is drawn from our full Global Monitor report, which measures growth for six world regions and almost a hundred countries, as well as offering forward projections. It’s part of our Inside Facebook Gold independent analysis service.