SATUN, Thailand (Reuters) – The son of a Thai fisherman, Anurak Saruethai, never took life at sea. But seafood has been good for him.
Blood cream, octopus and fish in nocturnal Facebook ( FB.O ) lifestyles, Anurak, fast with a joke and adept to interact with customers, can draw up to 300,000 viewers at a time.
He is supported by a team that helps to respond to orders, answering questions on Facebook Messenger, monitoring payments to the bank account and calling out the lines outside the camera for comic effects.
The formula works so well, Anurak says he alone produced 26 million baht ($ 829,000) in March.
"Facebook and Instagram give people an opportunity. If you do it right with good content, you can make millions in just seven months," he told Reuters from the coastal town of Satun.
His success is symbolic of increasing social media trade in Thailand, where contractors sell products directly to customers via Facebook, Instagram and message apps such as Japan's Line Corp. ( 3938.T ).
Powered by upgrades to mobile banking applications, sales via social media in Thailand more than doubled to 334.2 billion baht ($ 10.9 billion) in 2017, according to the latest report from the country's electronic transaction development office.
In addition, these sales accounted for 44% of e-commerce in Southeast Asia's second-largest economy and jumped from 21% The previous year, since then, the banks have lost transfer fees, probably to drive the market further.
The popularity of so-called social trade in Thailand is largely due to the relatively late arrival of large e-commerce companies, cultural shopping preferences and the broad use of Facebook ( FB.O ) and Instagram. About 38 million people or 57% of the population access Facebook every day, according to the US firm.
Growth also highlights the global business opportunities for Facebook and its Instagram device.
"Social trade is a market for monitoring because Facebook has moved more sharply in a trading direction recently with the launch of many trade-friendly features," said Alessandro Psicini, co-founder of Crea who advises brands wishing to increase their social media sales in Thailand.
Facebook said this month that it wanted to expand into payments and start their own coin. Instagram in March introduced a cash button that allows users to shop without leaving the app, but that feature is currently limited to a small number of brands and US consumers.
Facebook and Instagram refused to comment on how they plan to make the most of social trading opportunities.