India is one of the potential markets for Facebook outside the US. The social networking giant recently shared that it has crossed 100 million active users in India — the second country, after the United States.
Talking to ET, Javier Olivan, vice-president, growth & analytics, Facebook, said that “We crossed the landmark on March 31.”
The recent numbers comes after Facebook had revealed that it had 93M users last year. The growth has been a remarkable one from 8 million users when it had first setup its office in Hyderabad in 2010. Further, according to Facebook, 84 million of its 100 million users in India access the social networking site from their mobile devices.
According to Olivan, Facebook is now aiming for 1 billion users in India, a numerical figure it intends to chase with specific initiatives aimed at increasing connectivity, affordability and relevance. “That (1 billion) is a different focus and challenge,” he says.
Facebook to reach a billion users in the country now will also mean that the internet infrastructure in the country is scaled up. Internet reach has been a problem for emerging countries and hence has been the inception of the project Internet.org that promises to bring internet to two thirds of the world’s population that doesn’t have it.
Facebook recently tied up with FMCG giant Unilever for the Internet.org project. As part of the tie-up Internet.org and Unilever will carry out a comprehensive study to examine the opportunities to increase Internet adoption in rural communities. Apart from infrastructure and cost, which are known barriers to connectivity, the partnership will carefully evaluate other educational and cultural factors that also limit Internet use.
Both Unilever and Internet.org will leverage this research to inform the development of a series of on-the-ground projects with the aim of improving lives in rural India through better connectivity.
This tie up is an initiative to increase the 13 percent population which is able to access Internet in the country.
However, India which was tagged as the fastest growing market for smartphones in the globe can be a game changer for Facebook in the country. This will also mean Facebook to focus on earning more ad revenues from India in the coming future, which has been a challenge.