Facebook likes new Thai office

Facebook likes new Thai office

Facebook celebrates the opening of its Thai office, led by Asia-Pacific vice-president Dan Neary (second left), Thailand SME manager Rathiya Issarachaikul (second right), account manager Vi Oparad (left) and client partner Arnon Suntivisut (right). PHOTO COURTESY OF HILL AND KNOWLTON
Facebook celebrates the opening of its Thai office, led by Asia-Pacific vice-president Dan Neary (second left), Thailand SME manager Rathiya Issarachaikul (second right), account manager Vi Oparad (left) and client partner Arnon Suntivisut (right). PHOTO COURTESY OF HILL AND KNOWLTON

Facebook Inc, the world's largest social networking company, officially opened a representative office in Thailand yesterday in a bid to capture a chunk of local digital advertising space, which is worth 10 billion baht this year.

The Thai move is part of its plans to expand in Southeast Asia after setting up its regional headquarters in Singapore and a representative office in Indonesia. Its representative office in Thailand will be at Athenee Tower on Wireless road.

Thailand has 37 million Facebook users, ranking it as the ninth-largest Facebook population globally, according to Zocial Inc, social media monitoring August 2015.

"The establishment of a local presence here marks a major milestone for Facebook," said Dan Neary, Facebook's vice-president for Asia-Pacific.

Thais are the most active social network users in Southeast Asia. They spend an average of 2.35 hours per day on Facebook, 1.5 times higher than watching TV.

"In Thailand, the number of postings is three times higher than the average for the Facebook population globally," said Mr Neary.

A report by research firm eMarketer says Thais spend 57.7 minutes on social networks per day, ahead of people in the Philippines (45.6 minutes), Malaysia (43.2), Vietnam (33.3) and Singapore (26.6).

Based on Facebook's internal data, Mr Neary said as of June 30 there were 34 million users in Thailand using Facebook regularly every month, with 32 million accessing via mobile phones.

"Around 94% of Facebook users in Thailand access our site through mobile devices, compared with our global average of 87%," he said, adding that this provides huge potential for mobile advertising.

The Digital Advertising Association (Thailand) expects the country's digital ad spending to grow by 62% to 9.8 billion baht this year. 

Facebook now has a 21% share in the local digital advertising space, up from 16% last year and 6% in 2013.

Mr Neary said the company was on the verge of hiring qualified people to serve as the country managers of the Thai operating unit of Facebook.

Based on its internal information, Facebook is the primary information channel for Thai online shoppers, as 57% of Facebook users in Thailand access Facebook as their main channel to search for details about products and services.

In addition, 70% of Facebook users connect to at least one small business operator's Facebook page.

There are around 1.16 million small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with Facebook pages in Thailand, out of 45 million SME pages globally.

Facebook plans to introduce Instagram's self-service ads in Thailand this month. Instagram has the ability to target its ads to very specific audiences using technology and data from Facebook, its parent company.

There are 7.1 million Instagram users in Thailand.

"We foresee Facebook and Instagram will be most attractive channels for digital marketers, especially in mobile advertising areas such as mobile video," Mr Neary said.

Facebook's video traffic has reached 4 billion daily views globally.

The number of active Facebook users has reached 1.5 billion globally. WhatsApp users worldwide total 800 million, while Instagram has 300 million users.

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