Social networking giant Facebook and online micropayments company MOL Global - the new owners of social networking site Friendster - have announced a partnership which will see Facebook users able to purchase Facebook's virtual currency, Facebook Credits, in retail outlets across the Asia Pacific region.
The announcement today marks the first time that Facebook Credits will be able to be purchased offline. In a program similar in nature to Apple's in-store prepaid iTunes cards, users in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, India, Australia and New Zealand will soon be able to purchase MOL Global's own virtual currency - MOL Points - from more than half a million partner stores and exchange it online for Facebook Credits.
In addition to that, Facebook Credits will be available for purchase at 7-Eleven stores, Internet cafes and through MOL's online banks, while in certain locations across Malaysia and Singapore it will also be possible to purchase a co-branded gift card.
“Working with MOL means we can offer the benefits of Facebook Credits to millions of people in Asia using a payment system that is already widely used and trusted,” Facebook's Vaughan Smith, director of business and corporate development said in a statement.
“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.”
According to MOL, the Asia Pacific region is an area where traditionally "consumers rely heavily on offline prepaid cards rather than credit cards to purchase digital goods and services".
More than 150 applications on Facebook now make use of the Facebook Credits virtual currency, which Facebook hopes will soon become a reliable source of revenue for the site.