Facebook, the world's largest social networking site, is encouraging local small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to raise e-commerce sales in social media, capitalising on trends in social commerce.
The move by the US firm aims to increase its online advertising revenue as it competes against search engine Google, said Arrow Guo, head of SMEs for Greater China and Southeast Asia of Facebook.
"Thailand is one of the important countries in Asia-Pacific because of its high number of Facebook users," Mr Guo told the Bangkok Post.
Thailand has 24 million Facebook users compared with 25 million overall internet users. Up to 18 million users visit Facebook each day. Some 21 million Facebook users in Thailand access the site via mobile phone, and 13 million of these access Facebook via mobile everyday.
Mr Guo said SMEs in Thailand should have Facebook pages to cash in on the high number local users.
Sales of smartphones in Thailand are expected to reach 20 million units this year.
"Mobile commerce is the future of SMEs," he said.
Facebook Inc placed a US$19-billion bet on reaching its next billion mobile users with the acquisition of WhatsApp, a popular messaging service that lets people send texts, photos and videos on their smartphones.
Mr Guo said 1 million SMEs advertise online globally, but in Thailand the number remains small, mostly e-commerce operators, mobile application developers, restaurants and dental service providers.
Facebook is working with local partners to provide tips for SMEs on how to use its advertising system. There are 3 million SMEs in Thailand, he said.
They are also allowed to upload their customers’ emails or telephone lists to the Facebook system, and the system will then match with its user database.
SMEs advertisers will only be charged a few hundred baht for ad fees, while companies can be charged on either a cost-per-click or a cost-per-1,000 impressions basis.