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Facebook sets up office in Kuala Lumpur

It is only a matter of time. In the last six years, Facebook has opened offices in key locations in SEA. Singapore in 2010, Jakarta in 2014, Thailand in 2015 and Manila only two weeks ago. On 5 May 2016, Facebook announces it is opening an office in Kuala Lumpur, at KL Sentral. Facebook’s continued expansion into SEA is no accident. Instead, it is carefully crafted to capitalise on the fact that this region is the fastest growing for the social media giant.

Each month, more than 214 million people use Facebook across SEA – 94% of which accesses through mobile. Globally, 1.65 billion people now use Facebook each month.

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(L-R): Dan Neary, Kenneth Bishop, Nicole Tan and Jon Kee, Head of Agency, Malaysia, Facebook

Dan Neary, Vice President, Asia Pacific at Facebook, explains that it makes sense to have a physical presence in Malaysia as this country sees 18 million people active on Facebook monthly. That translates to about 81% of Malaysians on the Internet. Tellingly, 94% of Malaysians discover products and brands on Facebook and a whopping 62% make a purchase after discovery. This data is derived from a TNS study commissioned by Facebook done in March 2016.

Facebook announced that that the Malaysian office will be headed by Nicole Tan, who was previously the managing director of J. Walter Thompson Malaysia, an advertising company. Tan will lead the local business team that will partner closely with businesses and agencies, helping them get more value out of Facebook’s solutions. The company, however, did not specify its hiring numbers nor investment plans.

“Malaysians have 60% more friends than the global average and spend more time watching videos on their smartphones than consumers in any other country in SEA. With more than 13 million Malaysians connected to a business Page, we also know they want to build deeper connections with businesses,” says Tan. “Our local team in Malaysia will be focused on helping businesses tap into this unprecedented opportunity to connect with today’s mobile-first customers,” adds Kenneth Bishop, Managing Director, Southeast Asia, Facebook.

It will be interesting to watch how Facebook draws out its roadmap in Malaysia and how it can translate the above statistics into sustainable revenue streams.

Facebook Malaysia Success Stories

  • Malaysia Airlines – Malaysia Airlines was one of the first airlines in Asia-Pacific to use dynamic product ads, achieving a 31X return on ad spend and 6.4X more conversions.
  • Honor Malaysia – The smartphone brand owned by Huawei, ran targeted link ads, reaching a 15.5 million audience in Malaysia, an 18-point lift in ad recall and a 6-point lift in purchase intent.
  • Zawara – evolved from a small e-commerce operation into a business with brick-and-mortar stores across Malaysia by using Video Ads, achieving a 70% increase in website traffic, a 45% increase in revenue and a 50% higher conversion rate.
  • 11street – The online marketplace used straightforward messaging in carousel mobile app ads to launch its new app in Malaysia, achieving a 4X return on ad spend.

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