Facebook currency to go over-the-counter in Asia
Malaysia media company MOL Global made global headlines yesterday after announcing a deal with Facebook to sell the social network’s virtual currency, Facebook Credits, offline at 500,000 retail shops across Asia.
The deal, which allows Facebook users to buy physical Credits, is the first of its kind anywhere in the world and will initially be rolled-out across Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, India, Australia and New Zealand.
Credit will be available to buy from MOL’s retail network which includes 7-Eleven and cybercafés, while MOL’s network of online banks and developer sites will boost its availability on the web. With high-profile retailer 7-Eleven on board the scheme looks to have considerable potential.
According to AFP “the companies will also launch a Facebook Gift Card in Malaysia and Singapore on a trial basis before a global rollout.”
AFP also includes comment from both parties.
Ganesh Kumar Bangah, head of MOL Global, which owns MOL AccessPortal, said that only two percent of people playing online games in Asia actually pay, 80 percent of which is through physical cards.
Vaughan Smith, Facebook’s business and corporate development director, said the company wants developers and website owners to provide content for the site.
“We want to make it very easy for people to make lots of money building on top of Facebook,” he told reporters.
“What we want to do is create a virtual currency which makes it very simple and straightforward for our users to buy services when they are using games and services on Facebook.”
All Facebook comments.
While Facebook may not be making a lot through their Credits Platform right now, becoming one of the leading virtual currency providers appears to be a major priority for the company. With a standard 70/30 split with a number of large developers, Facebook Credits will be gaining significant traction in the coming months.
This partnership will definitely accelerate the company’s grow.
The testing ground is interesting as the Asian participants are some of Facebook’s fastest growing markets and countries with low online payment rates and low credit card ownership.
Facebook’s dominance is often expressed by looking at it as a country – with 500 million ‘citizens’ it currently ranks third – but how long until the performance of its currency, Facebook Credit, becomes another expression of its success and international appeal?