Global Marketing News – 21st January 2016
Friends Reunited to close down
One of the world’s first social networks, Friends Reunited, has announced that it will soon be closing down.
Friends Reunited was launched in 2000 and was designed to reconnect users with their old school friends.
It was quickly overshadowed by more popular newcomers, however, such as Facebook which launched in 2003.
Friends Reunited’s founder Steve Pankhurst recently made the decision to shut down the website after realising that the social network had a measly 10 million registered users, the majority of whom registered over a decade ago and were no longer active on the site.
Looking at the few people who did still use the website, he realised they were mainly using it as a messaging board, which was not its intended purpose.
The death of Friends Reunited highlights the fiercely competitive nature of the social media landscape, as networks battle each other for member numbers and user engagement.
Social media sites unblocked in Iran and Pakistan
Iranians have reported that they are able to access previously blocked social media sites, following the lifting of sanctions by the West.
Citizens are now allegedly able to access YouTube and Twitter, which have both been blocked in the country since 2009.
It is unclear whether the ban on YouTube and Twitter has been permanently lifted or if the censorship could be re-imposed. Iran has temporarily allowed access to banned social media sites in the past only to block access again soon afterwards.
The news comes as Pakistan also unblocked YouTube after a localised version of the website targeting the Pakistani market was launched.
YouTube had previously been blocked in Pakistan due to the country’s strict anti-blasphemy laws, which banned content deemed offensive to Islam.
The new localised version of YouTube has agreed to remove sensitive content if requested to do so by the Pakistani government.
Uber to launch in 15 new cities in China
The taxi hailing app Uber will soon be launching in 15 new cities in China as part of its expansion in the country.
The new cities are all located in Sichuan province, which is home to around 87 million people.
It forms the first part of Uber’s expansion plan, with the company aiming to be present in over 100 Chinese cities by the end of the year. The Sichuan rollout will bring it up to 37 cities.
As part of the rollout, Uber has unveiled UberSTATIONs in the new cities, which are large panda-shaped pick-up-points designed to help drivers and riders find each other.
Uber faces stiff competition in the Chinese market, with its biggest rival being Didi Kuaidi, a Tencent-backed company which has an estimated 80% market share.
Singapore ecommerce habits revealed
Research by Singapore Polytechnic has revealed how often internet users in Singapore research and buy items online.
The study found that 45% of internet users aged 15 to 35 in the country buy an item online at least once a month. 11% engaged in ecommerce at least once a week and 2% bought online every day.
When it came to researching products online, the survey found that 32% researched at least monthly, 35% at least weekly and 18% on a daily basis.
Separate research by PayPal revealed that cross-border ecommerce is extremely popular in the country, with two-thirds of Singaporean online shoppers buying from foreign ecommerce sites.
American sites were the top destination for cross-border shoppers in the country, followed by Chinese, British and Japanese sites.
Taiwanese bakery releases tragic love story film
And finally, a Taiwanese bakery firm called Isabelle has launched an unusual content marketing campaign, transforming a romantic novel into a short film and posting it online.
The video has been uploaded to YouTube and shared on Facebook, and despite having nothing to do with the bakery, has attracted a lot of attention online.
Isabelle has a strong presence in Taiwan and is also present in other East Asian countries, Australia and North America.
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