Social network facebook is taking its virtual currency to the streets of South East Asia through a partnership with Internet payment group MOL Global.
In the coming months, facebook users will be able to obtain facebook Credits using MOL points purchased through MOL's network of more than 500,000 outlets, which are mainly in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, India, Australia and New Zealand. In addition to outlets such as 7-Eleven stores and cybercafes, customers will be able to purchase Credits through MOL's network of online banks in these countries.
Facebook and MOL also intend to offer co-branded gift cards at outlets in Malaysia and Singapore that can be redeemed for facebook Credits, which enable users to buy and spend virtual currency in more than 150 applications on the global social networking platform.
The partnership makes purchasing Credits significantly more convenient in Asia, a region where consumers rely heavily on offline prepaid cards rather than credit cards to purchase digital goods and services.
Vaughan Smith, director of business and corporate development at facebook, comments: "We're investing in the long-term future of facebook Credits and we view this agreement as a major opportunity to broaden the availability of a simple, unified currency that can be used in games and applications across facebook."
The latest development comes as facebook announced plans to kill off its virtual gift shop on the site, with analysts speculating that the move presages a bolder initiative by the social networking giant to grab a slice of the $100 billion virtual goods marketplace through expansion of the Credits currency to mobile and other Internet-connected devices.