Social media giant Facebook has just announced that it has breached the 100 million active users milestone in India, the second country where the company has been able to do so after the United States.
“We crossed the landmark on March 31,” said Javier Olivan, vice-president of growth & analytics at Facebook, in an interview with the Economic Times.
Facebook’s growth in India has come from mobile. The company claims 84 of the 100 million users in India access the social networking site through their mobile phones. Moreover, Facebook’s user base in India has grown from just 8 million in 2010 to 100 million as off March 31, 2014.
The US remains to be Facebook’s largest market with about 183 million active users, though analysts claim it won’t be long before India overtakes it to. The massive influx of mobile phone users in India, along with the growth of internet usage will drive Facebook’s growth in the country.
According to Olivan, one of the company’s three employees who report directly to Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s growth from 1 million to 10 million users was made possible by removing roadblocks such as having to have an email ID of an American college to access the site. The growth from 10 million to 100 million users came through optimisations for accessing the site on low-end devices.
Even the recent update to the design of the site was carried out to load quicker, and be easier to use on small screen devices such as netbooks. Facebook already has over 1.23 billion users worldwide, and in order to reach the next billion users, it is turning to emerging markets such as India to power its growth.
The recent acquisition of instant messaging app WhatsApp is another such example of the company’s eagerness to grow. WhatsApp is highly popular among users in emerging markets, and acquiring it was also an easy way for Facebook to move further into the communication domain, rather than simply lingering about as an overgrown social media.
Facebook’s goal is to have a billion users in India, and with the way things are going, that doesn’t seem to be very far off. However, with growth will come various problems such as dealing with a population that has never really been exposed to modern technology let along social media. Even here Facebook is pushing the boundaries by finding new ways to reach people, truly making it a company that connects people.