For us consumers, social media is a variety of online platforms that allow the free flow of information from personalized sources of interest. Whether it’s friends, family, celebrities, or companies the role of social media in our daily lives is perpetually evolving and therefore continuously growing. The question isn’t when will the bubble burst, but rather how will each platform progress to maintain its place within the infinitely growing bubble that is, in and of itself, social media.
At first, people were curiously shouting in the dark on Twitter – now half of its users are specifically using it to get their news. Indeed, no social media application is ever finished developing, unless of course it never becomes profitable. So what makes a social media platform profitable? Easy answer: the effective cultivation and maintenance of an online niche. Facebook is for friends you already have, Twitter is for news and friends you wish you had, and Myspace is for friends you used to have. These niches are thoroughly maintained by the social media overlords who cast a shadow of Internet traffic over the many platforms that all launched around the same time, and are only now getting more and more attention.
Many social media companies are coming up on their 10-year anniversaries and, from an investor’s standpoint, it might be of interest to check out some of the more successful alternatives to the bigger players that have cast a shadow over them in the past. For example, Hong Kong-based Zorpia, which celebrates its 10th anniversary today, is now producing 10,000 signups per day with the United States being its fastest growing user base. With 60 percent of its 30 million users coming out of India, you may not have heard of it yet, but with the somewhat recent development of becoming the only international social media platform licensed for monetized operation in mainland China, Zorpia might become an even hotter topic sooner than you think.
This isn’t to say Zorpia is the only social media idea of its kind. Global competitors like UK based Badoo are very similar, and these platforms are evolving as much as the next social networking site. At first glance, both of them look like online dating sites, but up close it becomes apparent that Badoo is more dating-focused, thus maintaining a different niche. Another competitor, the popular China based MoMo, is a free location-based instant messaging service for smartphones designed for chatting with nearby strangers. Zorpia is similar in the sense that its niche is helping people make new friends based on location, but its chat service, along with successfully integrated social gaming apps, are smaller functions of a more extensive personal online profile. Location-based friend making is what has accounted for Zorpia’s initial success in densely populated countries like India.
It is rare for any social media company to stay afloat for 10 years and become profitable without any venture funding, which makes Zorpia unique. On the eve of the Zorpia’s 10-year anniversary, CEO Jeffrey Ng says the next move is focusing on growth in mainland China.
- We’re the only international social media platform officially approved by the government in mainland China to operate and earn revenue, and China is a huge market to further grow the company, said Jeffrey.
- We also have big plans ahead to further increase revenue and profits. Mobile device development is one big focus, but we are also introducing virtual currency options for people to buy gifts on the site and to pay for promotional advertising.
Zorpia is one of the biggest Hong Kong-based Google advertising publishers and is now getting its fair share of attention beyond the shadows of the familiar social media giants. It will be interesting to see how the company grows and maintains its niche within the perpetually evolving bubble of social media as it continues to expand into mainland China and beyond.