Info-tech

After US, India likes Facebook most; active user mark hits 100 million

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on November 24, 2017

Social networking giant Facebook’s plans to make India its largest market in terms of number of users is well on track with the company reaching 100 million active users.

India is now its second largest market after the US. But the fast paced growth of mobile and data services here makes it a huge opportunity for the company. Nearly 84 per cent of the users access Facebook on mobile. That’s more users than what mobile operators such as Aircel and Tata Teleservices have.

Kevin D’Souza, Head of Growth and Mobile Partnerships, Facebook India said, “We’ve only just begun. Facebook’s mission is to give people the power to share, and make the world more open and connected. We recently announced internet.org, a global partnership with the goal of connecting the next 5 billion people around the world, to make the same access and opportunity available to every one.”

Ties up with operators

Under the internet.org project, the company is partnering with handset makers, telecom operators and equipment vendors to drive connectivity. At the centre of India gameplan is the ‘mobile first’ strategy that the company announced globally a year ago. The company is now offering services in many regional languages.

For instance, it launched a programme called “Facebook for Every Phone” app, which delivers smartphone-like Facebook experience on feature phones in Hindi and other Indian languages including Gujarati, Tamil, Malayalam, Kannada, Punjabi, Bengali and Marathi.

“India is an exciting market for us because we are at the start of the data boom. We have found that the primary reason for Indians to subscribe to data is to get on to Facebook,” Vaughan Smith, Vice-President, Facebook, had told Business Line in an earlier interview.

Facebook is also aggressively looking at operator partnerships to drive up usage. It had done deals with Airtel, Reliance, Aircel and Idea for allowing their subscribers to surf Facebook for free.

Big challenge

But the big challenge for the company would be to grow its revenues from India in line with the user growth. Kirthiga Reddy, Head of Facebook’s India, said: “Over the last year, we have really reached tipping point, driven by our mobile first strategy. The other shift is on monetisation. When we started operations in India 4 years ago, people used to ask us whether someone really advertised on our platform. Now, marketers use Facebook as a strong platform.”

Published on April 08, 2014

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