Facebook helps firms building overseas links

Updated: 2012-12-31 11:19

By Shen Jingting (China Daily)

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Though Facebook Founder and Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg is leaving no stone unturned to break into the social networking market in China, many Chinese companies have teamed up with the US-based company to enhance their presence in overseas markets.

Facebook helps firms building overseas links

Facebook, an active platform where friends exchange ideas and update their status, has become a good place for Chinese companies to raise exposure and promote products. Gao Yuwen / For China Daily

According to the company's latest data, more than 1 billion people use Facebook every month with nearly 604 million users accessing the site from a mobile device. But Zuckerberg, who reportedly studies Mandarin an hour every day, has so far not been able to introduce Facebook services to China even as many Chinese companies are actively conducting marketing campaigns to piggyback on Facebook's huge popularity among foreign consumers, analysts said.

Huawei Technologies Co, a leading telecom gear vendor, currently attracts more than 140,000 fans worldwide on Facebook for its mobile phone products. Huawei started to look beyond the traditional telecom businesses and explore new fields in recent years, to create diversified revenue sources.

"There is a big difference in selling products to customers and selling products to enterprises," Wan Biao, CEO of Huawei Device Co, a mobile phone subsidiary of Huawei, said in an earlier interview with China Daily. "In order to make connections with ordinary people, it is important to know what they like and what they usually do," he said.

Since Facebook is an active platform where friends exchange ideas and update status, it naturally becomes a good place for companies to raise exposure and promote products, said He Shiyou, executive vice-president of telecom gear maker ZTE Corp.

"We have seen a rapid increase in ZTE fans on Facebook," He said. ZTE opened Facebook accounts in several countries, including the United Kingdom and Spain, and all these accounts attract more than tens of thousands people.

"There is great potential for ZTE to further strengthen its efforts in Facebook marketing," He said.

Many other foreign companies already consider Facebook to be an influential marketing channel. Take Ford Motor Company as an example. The company is now betting bigger on digital advertising platforms like Facebook rather than traditional ways of buying advertisement slots in popular events like the Super Bowl.

Ford's US sales have risen by 22 percent this year, twice the growth rate of the overall industry, according to Reuters reports.

Among Chinese companies, Lenovo Group Ltd is perhaps the one company that has gained most from its Facebook exposure. The company, which toppled Hewlett-Packard to become the world's No 1 PC maker in the third quarter, has nearly 420,000 fans on Facebook.

"It was only through Facebook that European consumers came to know about Haier," Sun Shubao, general manager of Haier Europe, said in a recent interview to Global Entrepreneur, a Chinese business magazine. Haier, headquartered in Qingdao, Shandong province, is a leading player in the appliances and electronic goods market.

In 2009, Haier launched its official page on Facebook. The company's branding recognition rose rapidly in Europe the following year, according to research from Millward Brown China, a consulting firm. Overall, nearly 26 percent of Haier's turnover came from overseas markets last year.


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