Popular social network site Facebook, which hopes to raise at least $5 billion in one of the world's most widely anticipated IPOs, or initial public offerings of stock, is betting big on India and Brazil.
Outlining its growth strategy in a filing made online with the Securities and Exchange Commission in Washington, Facebook said it "continued to focus on growing its user base across all geographies, including relatively less-penetrated, large markets such as Brazil, Germany, India, Japan, Russia, and South Korea."
Noting that its active users had grown substantially in the past several years, it said: "We experienced growth across different geographies, with users in Brazil and India representing a key source of growth."
As of December 31, 2011, it had 845 million active users, an increase of 39 percent from the same date last year, including 161 million active users in the United States, an increase of 16 percent and 37 million active users in Brazil, an increase of 268 percent from the prior year.
"Additionally, we had 46 million MAUs in India as of December 31, 2011, an increase of 132 percent from the prior year," it said.
Facebook, which has one of its four regional support centres in Hyderabad, India, noted that it competed with other, largely regional, social networks that have strong positions in particular countries, including Cyworld in South Korea, Mixi in Japan, Orkut (owned by Google) in Brazil and India, and vKontakte in Russia.
"We intend to grow our user base by continuing our marketing and user acquisition efforts and enhancing our products, including mobile apps, in order to make Facebook more accessible and useful," Facebook said.
"There are more than two billion global Internet users, according to an industry source, and we aim to connect all of them" it said noting it had achieved varying levels of penetration within the population of Internet users in different countries with estimated penetration rates of about 20-30 percent in Brazil, Germany, and India.
"There is a huge need and a huge opportunity to get everyone in the world connected, to give everyone a voice and to help transform society for the future," said Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook's CEO, in a letter that accompanied the filing.
Zuckerberg, now 27, famously started Facebook when he was a student at Harvard University in 2004.