Facebook unveils big plans for Asian market

Facebook has partnered with Indonesia’s largest bank to introduce a new payment option for ads


Nadine Freischlad August 04, 2016
PHOTO: Mark Zuckerberg

Facebook is stepping up efforts to turn itself into a commerce platform relevant to emerging markets.

Here are two ways it’s going about this. According to the Jakarta Post today, Facebook has partnered with Mandiri, Indonesia’s largest bank, to introduce a new payment option for ads. They can now be paid for using debit cards.

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Previously, the only accepted payment methods for ads on Facebook were credit cards or bank transfers.

Credit card adoption is low in Indonesia. In 2014, it was at 1.6 percent. Bank transfers are tedious and asynchronous. Enabling debit card payments gives more people access to an instant online payment method.

It’s a move aimed to help Facebook reap profits in emerging markets like Indonesia. The social network counts 88 million active users in the country, says Facebook Indonesia boss Sri Widowati.

Only 16 percent of Facebook’s ad revenues – its most important source of income – are from Asia-Pacific, shows Facebook’s most recent earnings report. It did pull in a record high US$1 billion in revenue in Asia from April to June, but the money Facebook makes from Europe also doubled in the past two years – while in the US and Canada has nearly tripled in the same period.

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Boosting pages

At the same time, Reuters reports on another feature to be launched by Facebook for emerging markets. It will let small and medium-sized businesses sell directly through Facebook Pages, for free.

It doesn’t explain how exactly the feature works, but mentions it’s part of Facebook’s plan to get more firms of all sizes from countries like Indonesia to spend money on the social network.

“If a business is seeing value from their page, there is a higher opportunity that they could be an advertiser,” Benji Shomair, product marketing director of Facebook Pages, told Reuters in an interview.

Facebook has reportedly also been experimenting with paid transactions directly through Pages in Thailand.

This article originally appeared on Tech in Asia

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