Well, China has 100+ Groupon clones and Malaysia is picking up as well on its own scale. Group buying sites are popping out lately in Malaysia. It's a bit of deja-vu like many were attempting to build a local social network site some years back...
It was the first time in history that a Malaysian company made headlines at TechCrunch last December. Friendster, the granddaddy of social networks has been acquired by MOL Global, a Malaysian e-commerce (payment) company...
Generally, Malaysians are skeptical or reluctant to shop online due to security concerns among many. We lack smart consumers, as suggested by Danny Foo. Air Asia did a great job in our e-commerce education. Desperately in need of bargain air tickets? Learn how to shop online and brace yourself by entering the credit card numbers...
Do you have the habit of shopping at foreign online store, especially those from the west? I do, like many others, looking for bargains, stuffs that are special or not easily available here. I do have an extra small habit though...
Well, this post is all about charts and figures. Read on to get a glimpse of e-commerce outlook in selected countries of Asia Pacific. Hopefully, you will get a rough idea on those markets that you are not particularly familiar with...
Blogshop seems to be an unique trend booming only in Singapore and Malaysia. Perhaps, many Singaporeans or Malaysians are accustomed to browse and navigate around blogshop but certainly not me (some might agree with me on this)...
Year 2008 is approaching the end and thus it would be inconclusive not to mention, in what I believe, the best web initiative in Malaysia for this year.
YouthSays, one of the YouthMalaysia project, is undoubtedly the hottest online youth community in Malaysia now. It is open to any Malaysian age 35 and below, and claims to have more than 60,000 members at the time of writing. Quite an impressive feat given that YouthSays is only about 7 months old.
Crowd pulling factor? YouthSays is well publicized, being helped by the fact that it rewards members in cold hard cash. Members can earn money by answering surveys or inviting friends. It might be just peanuts, but it is still attractive enough for non-blogger netizens who might not have the experience (and thrill) of earning cash online.
You might be thinking, what's so great about that? Here comes the CIA, ooops TYI I mean...
Yes, according to State of the Mobile Web, Oct 2008 report by Opera, Malaysia has the highest mobile internet user growth in Southeast Asia. Although the usage is measured solely on Opera Mini, it is still an useful benchmark on mobile internet adoption and trend in this region.
Opera Mini has only 0.06% market share compared to both desktop and mobile browsers, but nevertheless it has big market share in mobile browsers. This is because it is being shipped on major mobile manufacturers and available to various mobile operating system (excluding iPhone OS), making it the alternative browser of choice for mobile users.
Facebook has just released its official statistics, selected facts as below:
More than 140 million active users
The fastest growing demographic is 25 years old and older
Average user has 100 friends on the site
More than 70% of Facebook users are outside the US
How many out of the 140 million users are Malaysians, and what about the demographics? AllFacebook does provide an useful estimation tool for us to delve into the figures.
Google has released the most searched terms in 2008 (up to November). It is a great way to recap the year by looking at the search trend and curiosity around the world in this year.
There must be reasons why Google is cooler than Yahoo. Unlike Yahoo's Year In Review 2008, Google brands its year end compilation as Google Zeitgeist 2008 (Zeitgeist means "the spirit of the time"). Another cool factor, we have statistics reflecting major event or emerging trend in each selected countries.
Let's start with Malaysia, followed by other Asian countries. Before that, you need to understand this: "Fastest Rising" represents zeitgeist as its search volume increased sizably in 2008 compared to 2007, while "Most Popular" shows the largest search volume for 2008.
Friendster is still no.1 social network in Malaysia, in almost every aspects. MySpace used to be no.2 in Malaysia but has since been overtook by Facebook in 2008.
Measurement: Unique visitors from Malaysia, in May 2008.
1. Friendster (3,024,000 unique visitors)
2. Facebook (758,000)
3. MySpace (735,000)
Observation: Friendster is at least 4 times bigger than Facebook or MySpace!
"Guanxi" (关系) is a Chinese word which means relationship. It is more commonly known as mutually beneficial relationship that is required to build your business in China.
If you are looking forward to Guanxi building tips in this book, you might be disappointed. Almost all its chapters are dedicated to chronological event of Microsoft research lab in China, before wrapping it up with a closing chapter of "How to make it in China".
Have you been wondering whether is there any Malaysian working in Google? The Malaysia based country consultant is quite publicized but I guess not many are aware of this US based chap, Colin Wong.
As promised, here are some of the quick facts about him:
- Was born in Batu Gajah, somewhere near Ipoh.
- Earned a scholarship at The University of Texas at Arlington and graduated there in 1996.
- Started his career in United States, notably in CRM field.
- Joined Google's Sales Engineering Group at Silicon Valley in 2002.
- Managed many of Google's largest AdSense and AdWords customers.
- Left Google in 2006 and founded Prosperati, a venture capital company.
- Became the CEO of ZoeCity in late 2007, a new internet startup company based in Seattle.
Looking for best hotel deals? CompareHotel.com.my is offering one-stop service for you, by aggregating the best deals from top travel sites, wholesale online travel companies, travel agents and hotels. In short, it is a hotel (price) comparison service.
Does the branding looks familiar to you? No, it's not affiliated:
A study by Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) shows that Malaysia is one of the top 5 most connected countries in Asia-Pacific, alongside with New Zealand, Japan, South Korea and Singapore. These countries all have between 55 to 80% of their populations using the internet by 2007, while the average in this region is at 20%.
A quick check at Internet World Stats does confirm that 59% (14.9 million) of our population are internet users. By this ratio, we are no.5 in Asia behind Japan (73.8%), South Korea (70.7%), Hong Kong (69.5%), Taiwan (67.2%) in 2008.
No, not the virtual buddy. Zappos is definitely holding this principle well and a role model for anyone doing business online.
Zappos is an US-based electronic commerce service established in 1999. It specialize in footwear and then extended its catalog to clothing, bags and accessories. According to the figures revealed, one out of every 40 people in the United States is their customer, and 75% of purchases come from returning customers. Impressive huh?
Entrepreneurs from Japan, India and China occupied the top 6 positions in Asia Internet Billionaires 2008. Hopefully, we will see a Malaysian on that list in the near future.
Talking about past and present, there are a few local young internet entrepreneurs that have already stamping their mark in Asia.
Two Malaysians were actually being shortlisted (top 25) in BusinessWeek Asia's Young Entrepreneur 2007, although it was eventually won by a Vietnamese.
One of the benchmark for improving Malaysia's IT industry competitiveness is the quality of our local internet ventures. Of course, we are still light years behind Silicon Valley but there are still a few sparks among our local ventures.
WebWatch Malaysia does provide a short list of local internet ventures. I guess it is fair to say that only three companies made it into international (or at least regional) scene up to this moment. Coincidentally, this trio also appeared in TechCrunch news, not all of them being reported positively though.
Remember Sun Java's tag line "Write once, run anywhere"? Google has introduced similar concept to their social platform, OpenSocial. Developers write social application on top of the social platform, which is hosted on major social network sites.
Which social network sites contain OpenSocial? Click here for an impressive list of OpenSocial SNS containers.
If there is only one book you need to read on web design and usability, this is a must read for you. It is basically a "common sense" book that even your girlfriend or wife can understand most of it.
Why "Don't Make Me Think!"?
IKEA Malaysia website has been launched for some time now. It is good to see that IKEA is localizing their presence in each countries, rather than just having one international site with multi-language to serve all markets.
If you are not an interior designer, you can try out the IKEA Home Planner software (download here, Mac OS is not supported though). Look at what I have got here for my dream workspace:
Perhaps some of you have read a few version on this, for example here. I did come across an "alternative" version from Sin Chew Daily, which I am not sure where it is quoted from. Since similar resource couldn't be located online, I will translate it to English here.
1. Swedish fish is the first (on the list) take-away snacks Google orders to its office.
2. Google celebrates Halloween every year in the office. The funniest dress-up was lava lamp in 2007, which I can't visualize how it looks like though.
3. There are no restrictions on Googlers dress code in the office, in which pajama, ugly sweater and even super hero costume were on the records.
Shit at MS PowerPoint slides? Lack of design creativity? Running out of ideas?
For reasons above, do drop by at SlideShare for some eye openers if you haven't done so. They have announced the list of winners recently, voted by users and reputable judges which includes Guy Kawasaki.
The best slide of the world in 2008 goes to:
While Mixi is the leader in PC SNS, Mobage Town is Japan's no.1 Mobile SNS. Mobage Town is a huge success in mobile-oriented Japan which enables community-driven activities via mobile. Their "killer-app" is the wide range of free games which build up the initial user base.
Rolled out in February 2006, around 9 (or 11) million subscribers.
Be it Google in Malaysia, or a Malaysian startup in TechCrunch50.
Malaysia is ranked at a mere no.36 in IT industry competitiveness index 2008, among 66 countries being sampled. We remain unchanged from the position in 2007.
We are no.8 in Asia-Pacific, in which Taiwan has emerged as no.1 with previous Asia leader Japan slipped to no.5.
With the advent of High Speed Broadband (HSBB), Malaysian can finally look forward (fingers crossed) to better technology infrastructure.
HSBB is a premium broadband service with speeds of 10Mbps (Megabits per seconds) to 100 Mbps for residential customers and up to 1Gbps (Gigabits per seconds) for businesses for high economic impact areas delivered via fibre optic infrastructure. (Source)
Malaysia largest bank off and on the internet, having nearly one million active users on their banking portal, is finally making a step into Web 2.0 arena.
Maybank have just launched a blog, and more importantly a revamp of their existing cluttered Maybank2u site, being branded as M2U 2.0 (currently in beta).
Unlike China, Japan or Korea with their own preference of web design principles, Malaysians generally don't really have one. We can easily adapt to an info-packed site like Lelong, or a Web 2.0's theme site like Tumpang. This might be due to our unique multi-racial community and English competency to be influenced by Western web design concepts.
If you are a web design beginner, this book is a must for you. If you are in web industry (be it project manager or techie), this might improve your work effectiveness with designers or customers. Some basics in HTML, CSS, Photoshop are welcomed, but not compulsory before reading this book.
Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) has been granted APEX status beating eight other local competitors. Some people say that this is a "shiok sendiri" (self-consolation) award as local universities had fared badly in World University Rankings 2007. Universiti Malaya (UM) was highest ranked with no. 246 and followed by USM with no. 307.
There must be reasons why Harvard, Stanford, Illinois are top world universities. Let's look at it from a different perspective, on famous brains (in web industry) produced by these universities, just to name a few:
- Harvard - Bill Gates & Steve Ballmer (Microsoft), Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook)
- Stanford - Sergey Brin & Larry Page (Google), Jerry Yang (Yahoo)
- Illinois - Marc Andreessen (Netscape), Max Levchin (PayPal)
Google Suggest has graduated from Google Labs and appears at their homepage (US site).
If "c" is entered, terms suggested by Google will appear as below. If you inspect the "suggested list", you can see that Google rank the terms by "popularity" instead of the number of returned results.
A few interesting points from the following slide, even though most of the statistics are from 2007:
Green Packet is definitely hot in the news nowadays thanks to its WIMAX roll out in the country through Packet One. They are also having an eye on the content business through the launch of the social network site, Ruumz. Quite an exotic name by Malaysia's standard huh?
After so much rumours among the industry insiders, it is finally making its debut although it is still in beta currently. You can only join by invitation at the moment.
I have read on rumours saying that Malaysia Today operated by Raja Petra Kamarudin has been censored by local authorities via TM Net.
I am quite sure that most of the Malaysia's netizens are awared of GutterUncensored.com especially after the Edison Chen's photo scandal in February 2008. What I am not sure is the origin of the blogger, it seems that he/she is from US but he/she is quite equipped with "premium contents" from Asia namely Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia. You can even get Dr Chua's infamous act there.
This is the prove that Malaysians are very naughty, we are top of the list!
As the conclusion of this series, dare I say that we still do not have a very successful local (generic or vertical) SNS at this moment. But we do have decent special purpose SNS, like Blinklist, Nuffnang and Adverlets, as posted here.
Here, I would like to summarize three key success criteria of SNS:
- Marketing strategies - viral marketing, SEO and various online and offline marketing.
- Elegance of the service - localized, "killer app" to encourage return visits, first to market etc.
- MONETIZATION - advertisements, affiliate programs, subscription, revenue-share on mobile service etc.
Although Malaysia's netizens are very used to bulletin board based service, but I am not going to include those here as they are not "full-fledged" SNS services and also there are too many around.
What is "full-fledged" SNS? In my definition, there are 2 criteria:
- Encourage interactiveness between members.
- User generated content - blog, photo, video etc.
Malaysians are pretty familiar with Friendster, Facebook, MySpace. Generally, teens hang out in Friendster, colleague students and working adults in Facebook, Malays in MySpace.
But, I am not sure whether many heard of our very own local providers:
Hypptunes is down. It is a sad scene isn't it? TM Net, our no.1 ISP with all their will and power can only sell 40 songs per month? Selling music online LEGALLY in Malaysia is still a big, big question mark.
Let's check out who are the local major players...
Malaysia's netizens are used to Western (English) web services because there is no language barrier. May be this explains why there is not much local player in our internet scene. Well, that is a hopeful thought at least. Nevertheless, I am going to list down Malaysia's equivalents (or wannabes) of international web services.
From my previous post, not even a single local web service is in the top 10. Let's look further down the list and compile our very own Malaysia's Top 14:
- Malaysiakini.com (No. 13 in Top Sites Malaysia)
- Maybank2u.com.my (No. 14)
- The Star Online (No. 16)
- Utusan Online (No. 18)
- Cari Malaysia (No. 19)
- Jobstreet.com (No. 21)
- Lowyat.net (No. 23)
- Bharian.com.my (No. 26)
- Malaysia Today (No. 28)
- Harakahdaily.net (No. 32)
- Hmetro.com.my (No. 33)
- Mudah.com.my (No. 37)
- Lelong.com.my (No. 38)
- AirAsia Berhad (No. 41)
50% of the list above are news (perhaps politics-oriented) sites. Surprisingly, Mudah.com.my manages to overtake Lelong.com.my despite just being launched this year.
As of July 2008, following are the top (most visited) sites in Malaysia, courtesy of Alexa:
- Windows Live
- Microsoft Network (MSN)
Sense something there? Yeah, 5 out of top 10 sites in Malaysia are social network service provider. It is definitely hitting Malaysia hard, the rise of mass social media.
Thanks for dropping by Malaysia Crunch!
A little bit about myself, I have been working on web applications for years, and started to fall in love in online retailing while handling some e-commerce projects.
Since then, I have started to provide e-commerce and web consulting services to a handful of clients, big and small. At the same time, I become an entrepreneur-wannabe by starting an online t-shirt design community and store.
Currently, I am working at a global e-commerce company operating in Malaysia.
Of course, I am also being kept happy with my hobbies here at Malaysia Crunch and more frequently over that-little-bird (follow me). It is such a nice experience interacting and sharing with people that carries the same passion.
I am looking forward to do more sharings with you, especially on e-commerce. Do contact me if you would like share a thing or two on online retailing stuffs.
Hope to hear from you then!