TAIWAN: Plurk – or Tweet?!

BRIAN CANAVE WRITES — Taiwanese netizens are obsessed with social media and social media giants, Facebook and Twitter, do not fail to recognize this. This is in lieu to Facebook and Twitters announcements to further tap into the potential of Taiwanese markets. But why are these companies so eager to have presence in this particular island?

It’s no surprise they are because according to Digital Media’s Taiwan Social Media Fast Facts presentation “internet growth has been phenomenal. The proportion of the population who are internet users has exceeded 70.1%.” Of the social media avenues out there in Taiwan, Facebook and Wretch are the top social networking sites. Facebook, a common site used by the West, claims to have a 62% penetration to the online population in Taiwan. And Wretch is a popular, Chinese based community website, where users post, blog, and share photos.

Out of all the great, rising regions of Asia, why Taiwan? Simple. According to Focus Taiwan News Channel, “Facebook’s penetration rate in Taiwan is higher than in any other Asian market…” and, comments Dan Neary, vice-president of Facebook’s Asia-Pacific marketing team: Taiwanese users are “especially fond of” sharing gourmet food photos [and] using the check-in function.” ZDNet reports these news and adds that more and more Taiwanese checks updates, read news, and organize street demonstrations all through Facebook. Digital Media cites the top three reasons Taiwanese go online: sharing/collecting information; e-mail; and reading news.

Facebook isn’t the only company eyeing Taiwan. According to the Financial Times, “Twitter is looking to appoint its first full time employee dedicated in managing its business in greater China.” Twitter wants the employee to work with celebrities and TV networks to boost their presence in mainland China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. But Twitter has some competitions from reigning micro-blogging companies in Taiwan like Weibo and Plurk. In fact Taiwanese are well known to “plurk” instead of “tweet.”

How will Facebook and Twitter continue to fare in Asia? Will the East let West created platforms dominate their netizens? In regards to Facebook, it looks like the battle has lost; however in microblogging, Twitter had better damn well hire a crack employee to get the tweets tweeting in Asia.

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