Exclusive: 6 Waves Emerges from Shadows with 22 Million Active Users on Facebook from Around the Globe

For those that haven’t been reading Inside Facebook in recent months, Facebook is growing by leaps and bounds internationally. And as you may expect, entrepreneurs are taking to the Facebook Platform to reach Facebook’s large and growing audiences in Europe, South America, and Asia.

Today, one of those international Facebook Platform startups, 6 waves, is sharing details on its application portfolio publicly for the first time with Inside Facebook. The company, based in Hong Kong, was started early last year to serve the growing Facebook market in Asia. Today, 6 waves has built a portfolio of over 60 applications across multiple languages that collectively reach over 22 million monthly active users on Facebook, according to AppData.

That makes 6 waves the 4th largest Facebook application developer by total reach – behind RockYou, Slide, and Zynga, and ahead of the likes of Playfish and Causes.

How has 6 waves gotten so big? Essentially, the company has applied concepts that have worked well on Facebook to international markets by developing templatized applications and social games and translating them into the most popular languages in areas where Facebook is growing quickly.


For example, 6 waves’ Pet Contest application is available in Chinese, German, Italian, Spanish, and French. And 6 Waves’ Gangster Wars application is also available in Chinese, Spanish, German, French, Turkish, and Italian. The company has developed several other applications for specific regional markets.

Rex Ng, Co-Founder and Managing Director of 6 waves, says that while the company was originally focused on developing applications specifically for the China/Hong Kong audience, it has since decided to broaden its focus.

“After more exploration and research, we decided to include other markets such as Europe and South America. As a result, some of our apps started to resemble those in the Western markets. We believe that great apps have universal appeal and can transcend cultural differences,” Ng says.

However, monetization is of course quite challenging in many of these markets. Ng won’t disclose many details about revenues, but says the company is growing out of its advertising roots and developing transactional revenues.

“When we first started out, we relied more on advertising, but as our games become more mature and complex we started to incorporate more offers and virtual items,” Ng says.


Finally, Ng shares his perspective on Facebook’s challenges in China, where the company only reaches about 200,000 people.

“First, there is the language barrier. The majority of Chinese users are still not familiar with English, while users in Hong Kong are willing to engage with both English and Chinese apps,” Ng says. “Second, there is the cultural barrier. Hong Kong doesn’t have a local social networking platform aside from Facebook, but China has many large social networks to choose from, like Xiaonei and Kaixin. Even though Facebook has completed their simiplified Chinese translation, users will still prefer their home-grown culturally emphasized social network. It’s the same reason why Baidu is ahead of Google, and Taobao is ahead of eBay.”

In the end, 6 waves’ growth in recent months shows the potential available to entrepreneurs who are interested in reaching European, South American, and Asian markets on the Facebook Platform. We’ll continue to track emerging Facebook Platform companies around the globe for you here on Inside Facebook as 2009 progresses.

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Leave a Reply

11 Responses to “Exclusive: 6 Waves Emerges from Shadows with 22 Million Active Users on Facebook from Around the Globe”

  1. 6 waves Building Portfolio of International Social Games says:

    [...] Facebook has the story today of Hong Kong-based 6 waves, which started out as a developer of applications for big brands [...]

  2. Craig Bovis says:

    I think this illustrates a fairly large flaw in the Facebook Translations system that I have pointed out to Facebook before.

    We have all the tools available to fully translate our applications into foreign languages. We can even translate the about pages. We cannot however translate the search listings.

    I’m sure this simple missing component is stopping a lot of international users from interacting with applications that they might actually be able to use!

  3. Suleman Ali says:

    Great post. Any hints as to how those users translate into revenue? How much is a Turkish Gangsta Wars user worth relative to a English MobWars one?

    I’d pay to know the answer to that question!

  4. Entrepreneur 27 Singapore » Blog Archive » Hongkong-based Startup Vaults to #4 among Top Facebook App Developers says:

    [...] Inside Facebook, 6 Waves is raking in their 22 million MAUs (Monthly Active Users) through a total of 61 [...]

  5. 20 Breakout Facebook Applications for February 25, 2009 says:

    [...] by 6 waves called Jeu de Seduction / Eres Atractivo / 型男vs索女 / etc. 6 waves has been gaining traction on the Facebook Platform by serving international audiences, and is one of the largest developers [...]

  6. Are Chinese Game Developers Starting to Invest More in the Facebook Platform? says:

    [...] example, Hong Kong-based 6 waves has had much success internationalizing several of the most popular types of Facebook games, and [...]

  7. The Top 20 Up-and-Coming Facebook Apps: Another Strong International Showing says:

    [...] As the translation suggests, it’s a mafia-style role-playing game. The developer is the well-known Hong Kong shop 6 Waves, a company that we’ve covered in some detail. It has launched more than 100 Facebook apps in [...]

  8. First Look: Argentinian Developer 3happybytes Reaching 26 Million Facebook Users says:

    [...] applications on its platform. We’ve already covered a big one out of Hong Kong, called 6 Waves, but there are many others. Most notably, we’ve recently discovered a company called [...]

  9. First Look: Argentinian Developer 3happybytes Reaching 26 Million Facebook Users | egob.info says:

    [...] applications on its platform. We’ve already covered a big one out of Hong Kong, called 6 Waves, but there are many others. Most notably, we’ve recently discovered a company called [...]

  10. Top 20 Up-and-Coming Facebook Games: Animal Hunter, Jungle Jewels, Quiztastic says:

    [...] So at the top of today’s list are two puzzle-style games. Number one should be Animal Hunter, with 576,000 new users to reach 786,000 monthly active users. The game is not officially listed in any category, so it doesn’t appear on this list in AppData, but we noticed it during our more general look at up-and-coming apps over on Inside Facebook. The game is available in 9 languages, but most of its fans appear to be Chinese speakers. No developer is listed, although it appears to be cross-promoting apps from Hong Kong developer 6 Waves. [...]

  11. IFB: Global Social Game Publisher 6 Waves Raises $17.5 Million says:

    [...] active users and more than 9 million daily active users, according to AppData. A year ago, it had more than 60 applications using and 22 million monthly active users; at that point, it had gotten big by creating and launching templatized apps based on what had [...]

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