Friendster now owned by MOL – Malaysian Company, Berjaya Group
It’s actually very surprise for me that MOL bought over Friendster and it’s now a Malaysia owned online social networking website. Do you think it’s a smart move for the Berjaya group to spend such amount of money just to buy over the Friendster? Will it make our country become famous and more ppl actually know about Malaysia? Malaysia Boleh?
For me personally, I would think that Friendster actually dead after the blooming of Facebook and most of the Friendster’s users / members actually move over to Facebook because of the platform, instant update, easy to use apps in those smart phones like Blackberry / iPhone and there’s plenty of apps and games for the members to play and they will not get board by just logging in to Facebook everyday! Friendster been very active recently to capture their users by introducing new layout, more features and more apps but it’s still way to go mate.
New Friendster Layaout
I started using Friendster when I was in my college era, everyone will be adding friends, busy writing testimonial to your friends, updating their shoutout and check who viewed me and all and there’s a time where there’s another local guy make it for local version with Kawanster.com or something but I just checked and the page is not exist anymore now?
Berjaya bought over Friendster should have their own reason and maybe there’s some big plan which they are yet to reveal or just they want a huge database to make their business grow even faster? What do you think and are you still using Friendster or will you start to use Friendster from now on? Will the privacy be an issue in the future like what Facebook facing (and now Facebook come up with new pricy)?
Friendster vs Facebook…
MOLGlobal acquire Friendster – Press Conference
Photo taken from MOL’s Facebook, since they own Friendster now why aren’t they using Friendster but Facebook? Haha.
Check this out even we have 1Malaysia / SatuMalaysia on Facebook! I got to know this 1Malaysia Facebook thru a TV advertisment and you know social networking it’s the future but are those on Facebook like 1Malayisa, our Prime Minister Najib, other politicians that been using Facebook to talk to Malaysian going to change to Friendster? That’s no the concern but will Friendster bring more good to Berjaya Group?
MOL Global to Acquire Friendster
MOL Retail and Payment Channels and Leading Online Social Network Combine to Form Massive Content Distribution and E-commerce Platform in Asia for Over 100 Million Users
KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA – December 10, 2009 – MOL Global Pte. Ltd. (“MOL Global”), an affiliate of leading online payment solutions provider MOL AccessPortal Berhad (“MOL”), and Friendster, Inc. (“Friendster”), the operator of a top global web site based on traffic and a leading social network in Asia, announced today they have entered into a definitive agreement under which MOL Global will acquire 100% of Friendster. The principal shareholder of MOL is Tan Sri Vincent Tan, the Chairman and CEO of Berjaya Corporation Berhad, a leading, diversified Malaysian conglomerate that has annual revenues in excess of US$1.8 billion. Following the acquisition, the operations of MOL and Friendster will be combined to create Asia’s largest end-to-end content, distribution and commerce network, pairing MOL’s offline retail channel partners and payment platform with Friendster’s large online footprint, social network and user community in Asia.
“The merger with Friendster will continue to transform the social networking industry, combining a highly intuitive and successful social media site and online marketing channel with an integrated payment platform and content network which includes games, goods, gifts, music and video. We are creating a unique company that will be well positioned to provide content to a huge, regional user base, here in Southeast Asia,” said Ganesh Kumar Bangah, president and chief executive officer of MOL.
MOL uses the leverage of a network of over 500,000 physical and virtual payment channels across 75 countries worldwide to collect payments for content and services. Its core markets are Malaysia, Singapore , Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand and India. MOL has relationships with over 70 online game publishers that have a suite of over 200 online game titles. It also has partnerships with music, movie and video content owners and distributors across the region.
“Friendster and MOL are both industry pioneers and are close partners. This combination is a natural progression of our relationship and will be an industry-changing event,” said Richard Kimber, chief executive officer at Friendster. “The new combined entity gives Friendster the kind of financial backing, retail distribution, and e-commerce infrastructure that will enable us to accelerate our strategy and create a locally relevant, fun experience for our users in Asia, both on and offline.”
In 2003, Friendster pioneered social networking, and today is a leading web site in Asia, with over 75 million registered users and over 90 percent of daily traffic coming from the region. Asian youths have embraced Friendster and use it as their primary means of connecting to and keeping in touch with friends, self-expression, sharing content and news with friends, and as a source of entertainment.
Friendster users also enjoy local music, gifting, photo sharing, online games, and using Friendster on their mobile devices. All of these are incorporated in Friendster’s product suite and will be further developed over time with MOL, specifically with Asian youths in mind.
Friendster and MOL entered a global partnership in October of this year where MOL was appointed to provide an integrated payments platform, as a foundation for The Friendster Wallet and The Friendster Gift Shop, for Friendster’s users. The new combined entity will now build upon that initial set of products to deliver a content distribution network and e-commerce platform, enabling a wide array of content to be distributed to Friendster’s community and monetize via micro-transactions using MOL’s payment platform. MOL will use the leverage of its physical distribution networks to localize and extend the online reach of social networking in Southeast Asia to the physical world through Tan Sri Vincent Tan’s substantial assets across Malaysia and the region, including retail franchises in Malaysia and across Southeast Asia such as Starbucks, 7-Eleven, Borders, Krispy Kreme, Wendy’s and Papa John’s Pizza, just to name a few.
Friendster recently launched a new brand and web site packed with new features representing a significant milestone in the company’s history and further signifying the company’s evolution to focus on the Asian youth market. The notable changes include a new fun-centric brand, and a redesigned web site with a focus on local relevance, fun and simplicity.
The combined entity will maintain offices in various locations, around the world, including Mountain View, CA (USA), the Philippines, Malaysia and Singapore. Ganesh Kumar Bangah will become the Group Chief Executive Officer of the combined entity while Richard Kimber will become the Non- Executive Chairman.
MOL is a MSC Malaysia Status Company that operates and develops payment systems. MOL handles over 60,000,000 payment transactions a year with an annual payment volume of over US$200 million. It leverages on a network of over 500,000 physical and virtual payment channels across more than 75 countries and linked to 65 banks in 15 countries worldwide to operate its key payment products, namely MOLePoints, an online micropayment system for content and services; MOLeTopUp, an electronic prepaid distribution infrastructure; MOL Freedom, a multi-application prepaid payment card; GamesHive, an online game payment aggregator; MOL Wings, a payment aggregator for wired and wireless internet service providers; MOL Zone, a multi application mobile payment service; and MOL SafePay, an escrow-based payment system for micro-merchants.
MOL was recognized as one of Asia Pacific’s fastest growing technology companies in the Deloitte Technology Fast 500 Asia Pacific Awards in 2005 and 2006 and has won a Merit Award for the Best of E-Commerce Applications in the MSC Asia Pacific ICT Awards.
With more than 115 million members worldwide, Friendster is a leading global online social network. Friendster is focused on helping people stay in touch with friends and discover new people and things that are important to them. Friendster is one of the best sites that allow people to meaningfully participate with others in exciting and fun ways. Friendster prides itself in delivering an easy-to-use, friendly and interactive environment where users can easily connect with anyone around the world via www.friendster.com or m.friendster.com from any Internet-ready mobile device.
Friendster has a growing portfolio of patents granted to the company on social networking, with more expected over the next several months. For more information,visit www.friendster.com
Source : Friendster’s Blog
Malaysia’s MOL AccessPortal to acquire 100% of Friendster
KUALA LUMPUR: MOL Global Pte Ltd is acquiring the entire equity in social networking website operator Friendster Inc, creating an entity with a combined annual revenue exceeding US$110mil upon the completion of the acquisition exercise.
MOL Global is an affiliate of online payment solutions provider MOL AccessPortal Bhd, which has Berjaya Corp Bhd chairman and chief executive officer (CEO) Tan Sri Vincent Tan as the principal shareholder.
Following the acquisition, the operations of MOL and US-based Friendster will be combined to create Asia’s largest end-to-end content, distribution and commerce network.
The combined operations will be paired with MOL’s offline retail channel partners and payment platform with Friendster’s large online footprint, social network and user community in Asia.
MOL AccessPortal president and CEO Ganesh Kumar Bangah said the acquisition had a strategic value and the new entity would retain Friendster’s offices in various locations.
“We are creating a unique company that will be well positioned to provide content to a huge, regional user base here in South-East Asia,” he told a press conference after the parties signed a definitive agreement yesterday.
He said he would become the group CEO of the combined entity while the current CEO of Friendster, Richard Kimber would become the non-executive chairman.
MOL has a network of over 500,000 physical and virtual payment channels across 75 countries worldwide to collect payments for content and services.
Ganesh shrugged off questions on the transaction value of the acquisition, saying “we’re private companies, so we can’t disclose the amount.”
Quoting a source, Reuters reported that Friendster would be sold for more than US$100mil.
An industry blog, TechCrunch, had in July valued Friendster at US$210mil, a fraction of Facebook’s estimated US$10bil valuation.
Kimber said the new combined entity would give Friendster the kind of financial backing, retail distribution and e-commerce infrastructure that would enable the company to further expand in the region.
“We target the acquisition to be completed by year-end,” he said.
He said Friendster had recently launched a new brand and website packed with new features representing a significant milestone in the company’s history and further signifying its focus on the Asian youth market.
“We have 115 million registered users currently with 90% of the daily traffic coming from the Asia region,” he said.
Source : TheStar
Analysts welcome MOL’s purchase of Friendster
KUALA LUMPUR (Dec 11,2009) : Malaysian-based payment on line company MOL Global’s purchase of social networking site Friendster has won praises from industry observers.
Media, the marketing and communications newspaper for Asia Pacific, in its on-line report today, quoted the observers as saying that it is a company like MOL, and not another social network, that will advance Friendster’s status in the future.
Yesterday, MOL Global confirmed it was buying 100% of Friendster and that the deal would be finalised by year end.
In a statement, Friendster said this would effectively create “Asia’s largest end-to-end content, distribution and commerce network, pairing MOL’s off-line retail channel partners and payment platform with Friendster’s large online footprint, social network and user community in Asia”.
Friendster’s head of Asia Ian Stewart told Media that, because the website is looking to differentiate itself through its digital payment service, the merger makes sense because MOL is the company that is best able to improve this side of its business and has the clearest reach to Friendster’s cache of Southeast Asian users.
“This deal consolidates the business direction of the company. We believe that having a strong virtual-currency offering will better connect users to the Facebook virtual store, and then into our gaming aspects and music. Through payment mechanisms, Friendster can become a social-shopping platform, kind of like eBay but on a social network,” he said.
The report said Friendster and MOL first began working together in October, when MOL was enlisted to develop an integrated payments platform that would lay the foundation for the Friendster Wallet and the Friendster Gift Shop. Stewart said this partnership demonstrated MOL’s dominant positioning in Southeast Asia, “and in the last two months of the acquisition process, MOL joined the conversation.”
“We were gravitating to the virtual payment possibilities, and with geographic reach and users’ attraction. MOL was obviously going toward that expansion, and when we were going through the acquisition process, we were looking for a partner who would fit these criteria as much as possible,” he explained.
From July, when Friendster first announced its intentions to be acquired, the company has been vocal about wanting to find an Asian-based suitor. Friendster has made strides in centralising its operations in the region to accommodate its strong user base here: Asia makes up more than 90% of Friendster’s audience, and it claims a leading position in Southeast Asia. Friendster is still the number one social networking site in the Philippines.
The Media report said rumours recently circulated of Tencent’s interest in the site, as reports noted that the Chinese online giant was on Friendster’s acquistision shortlist. Reports additionally cited Facebook as a potential early contender for the company, though hurdles related to competition and intellectual property rights prohibited further negotiations.
But according to regional analysts, Friendster did well to partner with a firm that would most adequately advance its operations and allow it to advance its brand.
“I think it was a brilliant idea – combining a platform that has immense social reach with a group of very influential connectors, and then making it easy for audiences to engage via e-commerce,” said vice-president of business development for Adify, Andrew Tu. “I think it’s a marriage made in heaven because, when you look at an acquisition, you need to look at the synergistic components that can help you grow, more than just expanding your reach.”
Jeremy Woolf, managing consultant of Text 100, also said Friendster’s move was a smart one because it enables the site to connect more effectively with local audiences, which will be key to its long-term success. “This is Friendster fishing where the fish are – it is centralising the company where it has the greatest population of users and will work with a company that will preserve the brand,” he said. “It will solidify Friendster’s future as a niche, hyper-local social network.”
Stewart noted that Friendster’s focus on micropayments would give it an operating model that is more parallel to those of Japan’s Mixi, Korea’s Cyworld and Tencent’s QQ rather than globally focused social networking sites like Facebook.
“Looking to micropayments and focusing on localised research and development makes a lot of sense,” said Mindshare’s regional business director Brian Stoller. “Look at QQ’s success – QQ makes its money through micropayments and financial transactions, and its earnings aren’t based on advertising. Focusing on this and working with a Malaysian company that specialises in it is very good on its behalf.”
Source : TheSun