The rapid increase in social network usage in Thailand and many countries across Southeast Asia has galvanised local companies into developing new social analysis services of the Thai and Asean communities in the hope of becoming the regional leader in this emerging market.
Pawoot Pongvitayapanu, founder of Zocial Inc, a start-up providing Internet and social network analytical services, said yesterday that social networking around the world is experiencing strong growth and is fast playing an important role for many businesses. These companies want to know what’s going on in social networks, what their customers or people in the community are talking about and what’s their feeling about the company.
Currently, there is no information specific to local communities to serve these companies. Zocial was set up last month to fill this need by providing information, reports and analysis of the content and information flow over social networks. Initially, Zocial provides information and analysis of seven social media – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Foursquare, yahoo, blogs and webboards.
“Late last year we started to develop tools to help our customers collect data flowing over the social network and then analyse them. We got good feedback from our customers, so we started to concentrate on this project early this year, until we have a number of customers and service features. Last month we turned this service into a company,” he said.
The firm is registered in Singapore and backed by financially by Tarad Solution and a Singaporean venture capital fund. It plans to become the leading social network analysis service in Asean in the future.
“Our strength is we are local people. We know this market well. We believe we can be the leader in this area in this market. Any companies, once they want to know what is going on in the social network community in this region, they have to think of us,” he said.
Zocial offers two main services. Zocial Rank provides social network-related ranking services, while Zocial Eye provides analytical tools for companies that want to know want people in online social communities are thinking about their company, brands, products and services.
“Today, our tools are analysing 100 million messages from seven social networks, and then turn them into analysis reports for our customers. To provide this service, we have to have sources of data, analytical tools and a large system storing these data. That is a cloud,” he said.
Revenue comes from service fees. This service is available in six countries – Thailand, the Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, Cambodia and Vietnam. Ten companies are using Zoial Rank and about 15 are using Zocial Eye. These two services are expected to generate revenue of at least Bt20 million this year.
Offices would be set up in Indonesia, Vietnam and Philippines by next year.
“We started to set up the company in Singapore because we got investment from a local venture capital fund there and our services are available in English and are on the cloud. We think we can use Singapore as the centre and springboard to easily expand our services to other countries through Asean.”
Zocial is the fourth company founded by Pawoot. Tarad.com is the largest online marketplace. The other two are Tarad Solution and Red Rank.
Besides Zocial, a three-year-old local software company called 2 3 Perspective has the same vision, providing social and mobile analytical services over the cloud.
Thanaphongphan Thanyarattakul, founder and CEO of 2 3 Perspective, said that this year, the company would have available services including social analytics, mobile analytics, mobile campaigns, mobile games and mobile applications. Customers can access the services on its website and tailor them to their business requirements.
“We are now providing online solutions for our client’s communications planning, including a social media analytical platform, Facebook games, augmented reality service, interactive display, location-based as well as mobile applications and mobile games across platforms like iOS, Android, Windows Phone and BlackBerry.”
This year the company plans to expand to Asean with the cloud business model. Under cloud computing, its services are flexible, scalable and increasingly stable and integrative.
“We are going to be the regional provider. With the cloud model, we developed and made our services available on our cloud service and allow our clients to get it and use it. This model will help us expand our business coverage to Asean easily,” he said.
The company targets Bt100 million in revenue this year from the domestic market.
“We have social media API, augmented reality functionality and location-based services set to build brand awareness and positive aspects among our client’s prospective users. With our experience and expertise in the digital world, we can help a client’s business to meet the growing demand for integrated social media, mobile applications, online games and complete web portals,” he added.