VKontakte or VK, launched in 2006, is Russia’s most popular social media by having 3.4 hundred million registered users. Vkontakte not only occupies the Russia market but also covers the whole Central Eastern Europe. It’s also a cross-border e-commerce platform and internet entrance for foreign products. According to vk.com, it’s the fifth most visited site in the world with more than 59% of VK users are over 25 years old and daily active users are above 70 million. 5 billion messages and 1 billion likes are generated every day. Same as Facebook, users are able to send instant messages, share photos, share news feeds. What makes different from Facebook is on VK, people can also watch videos, listen to music, participate in forum discussions, and play online games. VK’s main goal is to “unite people all over the world and helps them communicate comfortably and promptly.” and aims to be “the fastest, most modern and attractive way of communication in the network.” (Vk.com)
Image courtesy of Ondrej Pavelek slideshare.net
From the chart above, we can see that VK is mostly used among the ages 18-24 and 25-34 groups. As for Facebook, Russian users are reaching 2450 million, with an older age users that have received higher education and fluent in English, lots of Facebook Russian users are businessmen and senior management staffs.
Similar to Facebook, VK was originally targeted to college students. The blue and white background was also criticized for copying Facebook’s design concept. The founder Durov admitted that “when he was developing VK he had studied Zuckerberg’s experience, but stressed that his project is independent and, in his view, more complete.” (rbth.com) What’s noticeable is that even some illegal things can be assessed via VK, demonstrated by Maxim Kornev “Everything was accessible for free and on one resource: music, films, pornography. These things couldn’t be found on Facebook or in Odnoklassniki.” (rbth.com)
What’s more, VK has many hidden business opportunities to be developed by foreign trade enterprises. It provides a platform for advertising and searching potential customers. For foreign companies, the most useful function of Vk is the searching engine, by entering related keywords to look for the targeted companies or staffs. The new function such as money transfers is also in the future plan.
With the prevalence of Vk usage in Russia, Facebook needs to find its own position in order to attract more users in Russia market.
Featured Image courtesy of Wikipedia