Wed, Sep 22, 2010 - Page 11 News List

Facebook use in Asia races ahead

AFP , SINGAPORE

Asia is the fastest-growing region for new subscribers to social networking site Facebook despite restrictions on access in China, a senior company executive said yesterday.

Speaking at the opening of Facebook’s first Asian sales office in Singapore, Facebook vice-president Blake Chandlee said its growth in the region was outpacing the rest of the world.

Facebook currently claims more than 500 million registered users worldwide, with 54 percent said to be logging on to the site daily.

Chandlee, the commercial director for regions outside North America and western Europe, declined to give regional or country user breakdowns except for Singapore, which has nearly 3 million users out of a population of 5 million.

“At the regional level, if you look at the big four, what we call, theaters, you’ve got North America, you’ve got EMEA [Europe, the Middle East and Africa] you’ve got Asia, you’ve got Latin America,” Chandlee said.

“Asia is definitely the fastest-growing amongst those big theaters ... Asia’s got some of the fastest-growing countries in it, certainly,” said Chandlee, who described Facebook’s growth in India as “tremendous”.

China restricted access to the site in July last year amid deadly ethnic unrest in the restive far-western Xinjiang region, but users have found ways of breaching the censorship wall.

Facebook set up an Asian sales office in Singapore to help regional brands in executing their marketing campaigns on the platform, Chandlee said.

“The Asian market’s a very, very big market for us.” he said. “It’s an enormous opportunity for us.”

“Singapore has been a great market. We nearly have 3 million people in Singapore alone, which means having a huge percentage of the total population on Facebook,” he stated.

“We see that across the region really, we’re pretty excited about it,” he said.

Founded in 2004 and based in Palo Alto, California, Facebook does not publish financial results, but research firm eMarketer said last month it should rake in more than US$1 billion in advertising revenue this year.

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