Facebook Gives Emerging Markets Free Sales Platform


With Facebook Inc.’s user growth in developing countries soaring, one wonder’s what’s in stock for emerging economies, bottom line mutual funds focused on such economies are investing in silicon valley.

Six years ago, 60 percent of the social platform’s 482 million monthly active users lived in the U.S., Canada, and Europe and the rest were from elsewhere. Now two-thirds of its 1.7 billion users are from outside of the heart of the developing world.

Researcher eMarketer estimates India will surpass the U.S. next year as the country with the most Facebook users. It also ranks India, Indonesia, Mexico and the Philippines as the top four countries to see the fastest Facebook user growth until 2020.

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

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.

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.

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.