Wooing the rest of the world

Facebook courts developers to compete with rivals in Asia

It’s no secret that Facebook is courting app developers. But where it’s doing so is a little more surprising.

On Monday, Facebook’s mobile app server company Parse released statistics on its biggest user growth. Its adoption in Asia has skyrocketed; the company said that in the first half of 2014, the apps in Asia using Parse grew 90 percent (the company wouldn’t release specific user numbers though). Likewise, the number of apps in this area that use all of Parse’s products — analytics, push notifications, and server space — also grew 90 percent.

Furthermore, of the top fifteen countries with the biggest Parse userbase, six of them are from Asia — India, Japan, Australia, China, Taiwan, and Korea.

Here’s why that’s exciting for Facebook. The company wasn’t able to dominate as a social network in Asia, with the likes of WeChat, Line, KakaoTalk, and other chatting applications taking its place. But if Facebook can sneak inside the Asian mobile app economy, powering said apps with free server space — and potentially connecting them to its mobile advertising network — Facebook can take a cut of the ad revenue and gathers information on app users.

Facebook wants a foothold in the huge Asian consumer market, and this may be its in.