An eye on Mig33: the mobile social network keeps on growing in Asia
Mig33 is a social network that includes features such as chat, gaming, microblogging and virtual gifting. More importantly, it’s a good example of where the world is going: it’s strongly mobile-based, and it moved its headquarters from California to South East Asia.
Launched in Silicon Valley in 2005, the company moved to Singapore with some precise and forward-looking objectives, as reported on Venture Beat back in 2010:
“The choice of investors makes sense because Mig33 moved from Silicon Valley to Singapore as part of a plan to bring its service to developing parts of Asia. Mig33 is making a big bet that such services will be popular also on old-fashioned feature phones that are selling by the tens of millions in Asia, Africa, Eastern Europe and other developing regions. In these “mobile first” markets, users are buying cell phones as their primary computing devices.”
Indonesia, the main playground for Mig33
Mig33 now counts around 70 million registered users, and in 2013 it was ranked 7h among the fastest growing social networks globally, by Global Web Index.
About 50% of the social network’s users are in Indonesia, mainly from Jakarta, Bandung and Central Java – to give a comparison, Indonesia currently counts 64 million Facebook users.
Mig33 is also quite widely used in Nepal, together with other countries across Central-South Asia, Middle East and North Africa. Most of the users are accessing the platform through feature phones and Android devices.
As noted by Tech in Asia, in October 2013 Mig33 registered 180,000 daily active users, 30 million messages sent every week, and around 15 thousand new users every day, coming from Indonesia, Nepal and India.
New features, and new logo
During 2013 and the beginning of 2014, the product has been constantly evolving, adding apps for different mobile operating system, a Facebook-integrated login, new stickers and emoticons, a more integrated 300-characters miniblog system and – last but not least – a new brand identity.
As reported by the Singapore Business Review, the new features delineates new directions Mig33 is taking:
“The shift to the conversation style of the miniblog represents a clear move away from the IM based format. Mig33’s partners have welcomed the focus on this conversational style beyond the chat and gaming services, as it provides more opportunities for brands to reach mig33 members.”
The switch to a more complete microblogging platform represents a revenue opportunity for the Singapore-based company; so far Mig33 has been monetising mainly by selling stickers and through virtual goods-exchange among its users (the same business model of other Asian social networks such as CyWorld in South Korea).
Celebrities and pop stars jumped on Mig33
Following the trends defined by other Asian mobile apps – such as Kakao Talk and WeChat – Mig33 started seeking interaction with users by bringing movie and pop stars on the platform through official profiles. This direction was made even clearer by Mig33′s acquisition of music website alivenotdead.com, in early 2014.
If we look at the celebrities active on the platform, we can find some pretty interesting numbers. Nepali movie star, singer and 1997 Miss Nepal Jharana Bajracharya has 1.5 million followers on her profile on Mig33:
Same thing can be said for Indonesian popstar Shae, followed by 21,000 people on Twitter, and over 4 million users on Mig33, where she’s actually quite active sharing personal pictures, thoughts, special activities for her fan base and video appearances on TV:
Actually, the direction taken by Mig33 was quite predictable: in 2012 they partnered up with Universal Musik Indonesia to launch a competition called #Mig33Fanatik – based on a mini websites and a series of real-life events – in order to win a trip to Miami to meet Justin Bieber.
Once again, it really looks like social media is changing for good the way entertainment is consumed and promoted.