By Asina Pornwasin
2011 was the year of social networking and mobile devices in Thailand. Though it was a tough year, there were some areas of strong growth for the technology industry.
Social networking, especially the two most popular in Thailand – Facebook and Twitter – have been embedded in Thai society for a couple of years. But this year, both Facebook and Twitter have maintained their momentum in terms of popularity among Thais.
A couple of factors have played a key role in the continued growth of the social network: the social role during the flood crisis, and the rapid growth of demand for mobile devices, both smart phone and tablet.
According to Socialbakers.com, one of the biggest social media statistics portals in the world, Facebook penetration in Thailand is 19.99 per cent compared to the country’s population and 75.92 per cent in relation to the number of Internet users. The total number of Facebook users in Thailand is 13.27 million, growing by more than 2.91 million users in the last six months.
According to the country manager of Frost & Sullivan (Thailand), Monsinee Keeratikrainon, the number of Twitter users in Thailand increased at 20 per cent to 600,000 users during the two months of flooding. The rapid growth in the number of Twitter users in Thailand during October and November came from the huge demand for information about the floods and updates outside of traditional media.
More usage of social network increased data traffic over the mobile network instantly. Jake Wengroff, global director, social media strategy and research at Frost & Sullivan, also said that social media had become the main channel of communication during the recent national disaster.
Mobile devices like smart phones and media tablets are the two main areas that are growing heavily this year. This year’s market for media tablets, which International Data Corporation (IDC) regards as tablets using the iOS, Android and BlackBerry platforms, is still experiencing healthy growth, expanding from the previous forecast of 150,000 units to between 400,000 and 500,000 units.
Moreover, Thailand’s smart-phone market this year has witnessed strong growth, as forecast, with an estimated 3.3 million to 3.5 million unit sales, representing growth of 70-80 per cent, according to IDC.