Foursquare Asia Plan Takes Shape With Location Support For Samsung, WeChat, And More

'As Asia-Pacific technology companies are increasingly looking at international expansion, Foursquare is on a roll, broadening our reach thanks to new and expanded partnerships with industry-leading customers in Asia,' says Foursquare President Steven Rosenblatt.

Foursquare has been quietly striking partnerships with telcos and other mobile-based tech platforms across Asia for the past year, and the location intelligence provider is ready to pull up the curtain on its work in the region.

The company has lined up more than-a-dozen major Asian brands that will take advantage of its location intelligence and developer tools including Tencent (parent of WeChat, QQ, Qzone), Samsung, LG, Carousell, Path, Momo, Travel Japan WiFi.

It’s been over a year since naming on startup analytics veteran Jeremy Geiger, as Foursquare’s head of Enterprise Business for Asia-Pacific in Shanghai. In addition to that regional office Foursquare has also established a base in Singapore with a team to support its new partners “with local language fluency and technical capabilities,” the company said.

Foursquare’s Asian expansion followed its $45 million funding round at the start of 2016, and came together as its broader vision for using location data insights was taking shape.

As such, the deal is meant to do two things.

For one, Foursquare will be a primary partner for each of those companies as they expand the use of location intelligence to build contextually aware solutions for artificial intelligence, augmented reality, online-to-offline attrbution, ride-sharing, messaging and pretty much anything involving the intersection of mobility, data, and physical places, Foursquare President Steven Rosenblatt wrote in a blog post heralding the deal.

Foursquare’s expanding presence across Asia is also intended to extend it other clients’ and partners’ location capabilities in the region as well, particularly on the advertising side from the likes of Apple, AT&T, Unilever, and others.

“Today, Asia is our fastest-growing market outside the U.S.,” Rosenblatt said.

“We’re increasing engagement with Foursquare’s enabled, contextually-aware features, which in turn enriches our location intelligence,” Geiger told GeoMarketing

“Foursquare’s primary focus is our core location data and technology, and that remains the case as we expand our partnerships into the Asian market,” Geiger added. “As industry leaders in location intelligence, we are laser-focused on providing our world class location technology and solutions to all partners around the world.”

Foursquare’s Message

As Geiger told us when he embarked on his mission in May 2016, WeChat, Samsung, and with a few others who couldn’t be identified at the time were already using Foursquare’s venue database.

But today’s announcement has Foursquare’s location analytics being put to deeper use.

“Foursquare is now the exclusive location partner for WeChat globally outside of China,” Rosenblatt said. “Consumers who use the app to chat with friends can add a location or tag a ‘Moments’ post with a place and see address, tips and other venue details.”

The work with WeChat highlights the importance potential Foursquare clients have been placing on messaging apps to extend commerce and marketing programs.

For example, Western Union struck alliances with messaging apps like WeChat and others to better reach Millennials and the general population that is quickly choosing to transact on such apps as well.

In a discussion of Western Union’s strategy, Nidhi Gupta, the financial services company’s global marketing director, noted, nearly 2 billion people are projected to be on messaging apps by 2018 — that’s over a quarter of the world’s population. Chat apps are already used by 75 percent of all smartphone users and continue to be one of the fastest growing digital services in the world.

By aligning with WeChat, which has been hoping to penetrate other markets as beyond its messaging dominance in China, Foursquare can both assist WeChat’s continued rise as well as benefit from riding along its own expansion.

The deal with WeChat doesn’t end there either. In addition to WeChat, Foursquare is also working with its parent Tencent on its other social apps, QQ and Qzone, where users outside of China use Foursquare to share their location with friends, or choose a location when posting an update.

“Other partners in the social networking space in Asia that leverage Foursquare include the global app Path—a check-in app that’s widely popular in Indonesia—and Momo, the Chinese social network. Foursquare is Momo’s sole location provider outside of China; users share their whereabouts with friends as well as app users nearby,” Rosenblatt said.

Samsung Puts Foursquare In The Spotlight

Foursquare’s greater connection with Samsung is meant to showcase its ability to embed new mobile phones with its location intelligence.

“Whenever a person with the Galaxy S8 and S8+ takes a photo, the image is attached to the specific location using Foursquare’s Places database of more than 105M venues around the globe,” Rosenblatt said. “The phone also serves up contextually relevant locations for those who are searching for a place to eat, drink or explore.”

In a sign of Foursquare’s new centrality within Samsung products, its branded mapping capabilities will be featured in the Korean electronics giant’s latest global TV spots.

Connected Intelligence, Connected Locations

Samsung’s South Korean rival, LG, is also using Foursquare to power features in its new line of smartphones.

Users of LG’s calendar will see appointment locations based on the Foursquare database — and in a sign of the intersection of location data and Connected Intelligence, the Foursquare appointment tool will recommend nearby places to go where the user will be having their meeting.

Similarly, Singapore-based mobile marketplace Carousell will employ Foursquare’s geo-data to direct buyers and sellers to places that are easily located for the exchange of goods or a to process payment.

For Carousell, Foursquare is supplying the backend for its omnichannel transactions.

“At Carousell, we connect people so they can buy and sell pre-loved items,”Lucas Ngoo, Co-founder & CTO, Carousell said. “Foursquare and its expertise in location-based services helps us connect our Carousellers more effectively, making it all the more convenient to get the items they always wanted.”

Foursquare can further connect devices, consumers, and physical businesses thanks to its work with ride-hailing service Travel Japan WiFi.

Billed as one of the country’s most downloaded travel apps,Travel Japan WiFi directs travelers to the best places to eat and drink. It also operates 200,000 wifi hotspots throughout the country.

“It is simple and easy to integrate the Foursquare APIs, which immediately resulted in a highly-scalable product,” said Kenji Soma, CTO of Travel Japan WiFi’s parent company Wire and Wireless Co. We are also reassured that nearly every place in the world is in the Foursquare database, so we can deliver top-notch recommendations, always.”

About The Author
David Kaplan David Kaplan @davidakaplan

A New York City-based journalist for over 20 years, David Kaplan is managing editor of A former editor and reporter at AdExchanger, paidContent, Adweek and MediaPost.