Everyone knows that Facebook has grown into an enormous social network enabling all of us to stay in contact with friends and family on a daily basis despite the sometimes long distances that can separate us.
The Asian American community is known for many things. Among them is its committment to family and its rising social influence in America. Over recent years, Asian Americans have leveraged Facebook’s valuable services to mobilize social networks and acivities. As the most influential network, Facebook is poised to launch Asian Americans into a new stratosphere.
On Feb. 1, Facebook Inc. filed for an Initial Public Offering (IPO) that could value the social network between $75 billion and $100 billion, putting the company on track for one of the biggest U.S. stock-market debuts of all time.
So what is an IPO and will it really affect Asian Americans? An IPO is what happens when a company decides to offer its shares as an investment to the public. Until now, Facebook has been a private company run by Mark Zuckerberg and an elite management team. The IPO will help Facebook raise money to buy smaller companies, create jobs, refine their products, and become an overall more successful company. It also allows investors to buy shares of this powerful tech giant and gain in profits as the company grows.
Now some statistics. According to 2009 research done by the Facebook Data team, since 2005, Asian/Pacific Islanders have been much more likely to be on Facebook than Whites, and that has remained so. The study also cites that the diversity of its followers has increased over time. A Nielsen report concluded that “the type of Internet user who is most likely to use Facebook is an Asian-American female between the age of 18 and 34, lives in New England, makes less than 50,000 dollars per year, and has at least a bachelor’s degree.”
According to another recent marketing study, 71 percent of Asian Americans use Facebook at least once weekly compared to 53 percent for African Americans and Hispanics. Eighty percent of Asian Americans use the Internet, which is the highest rate amongst any race or ethnic group in the U.S. That means almost all Asian Americans using the Internet also use Facebook.
The social media giant revealed their profits were $1 billion in 2011 with revenue of $3.71 billion — an 88 percent increase from the $1.97 billion reported for 2010. The increase was mostly attributed to the 69 percent growth of advertising revenue. With 850 million total users (and counting), Facebook has a vast market that advertisers will pay to court.
APIs play a significant role in Facebook’s success. This means advertisers will come courting the Asian American demographic — raising the profile of an often ignored community.
The Facebook experience will evolve. We will likely see new innovations, new services, and new ways to interact with our friends and family. Most of us know about the “like” button. Soon there will be many “action” buttons and ways to share and connect with all of our friends including “want,” “watch,” and “listen,” giving us a more interactive experience.
Mark Zuckerberg is also leading the charge for growth expanding into international markets. With his long time Chinese American girlfriend, Priscilla Chan, Zuckerberg has been studying Mandarin Chinese and took a trip to China in December 2010. He was noted to have had several business meetings on his trip. Speculation continues that he is trying to expand Facebook into China despite increased regulations of its Internet accessibility.
The IPO will undoubtedly help Facebook recruit more talent and expand its product line and brand. For APIs, it’ll make our world smaller and more connected. And our demographic strength in Facebook should be leveraged to gain more visibility and influence in a world fast becoming more diverse.
Viet Ly is a principal and COO of TangleTrade Advisors. This article is not advice to buy or sell securities and is not a solicitation and should not be construed as such. Visit his website at www.tangletrade.com.