The BBC has coverage of findings from a TNS report which suggest Malaysians are, on average, the world’s biggest users of social networks with more friends than any other country in the world.

The report (available here) found social networks users in Malaysia have, on average, 233 friends, with fellow Asian country Japan at the bottom of the list with an average of just 29 friends, while China is similarly low with an average of just 69 friends on social networks.

Key excerpts of the BBC article below:

The results could suggest “a culture that embraces fewer but closer friendships,” thinks TNS’s chief development officer Matthew Froggatt.

As well as having the most friends, Malaysians are also the heaviest users of social networking sites, spending an average of nine hours per week on them.  

The study found that consumers are now spending more time on social networking sites than using e-mail.

This is fuelled in part by the rise in mobile net access.

“In rapid growth markets…users are embracing these new channels in much more active ways. The digital world is transforming how they live, develop and interact,” said Mr Froggatt.

With more friends, on average, and longer time spent using social networks, is Malaysia the world’s biggest social networker?

Indonesia is most regularly recognised as being the world’s biggest users of social networks, see the text below from a ZDNet article citing ComScore data from earlier this year: 

Some 90 percent of the Philippine Web population visited a social networking site in the month of February.

This was followed by Indonesia at 88.6 percent.

In terms of engagement, users in the Philippines averaged 5.5 hours per visitor, who visited social networks an average of 26 times in a month.

This was again followed by Indonesia with 5.4 hours and 22 visits per visitor per month.

Visitors in Malaysia logged 3.8 hours and 22 visits each month, with 84.7 percent of the country’s Web population using social networking sites.

This ZDNet data puts Malaysia third in Southeast Asia, however the TNS stats suggest that during the corresponding period this year the balance has changed and Malaysia is now ahead. However, different data analysing and collecting may account for the change.

Regardless of the hierarchy it is clear that social networking is huge in Malaysia, Philippines and Indonesia – three of the most sizeable and influential countries in Southeast Asia, a region fast-becoming renowned for its use of social media and the internet. There is no doubt that mobile internet, as raised by TNS, is a crucial driver responsible for the increase in the internet across the region and large parts of Asia.