Both Facebook and LinkedIn see big potential in India

Facebook and LinkedIn who are founded one year apart (LinkedIn in May 2003 and Facebook in 2004); opened their India offices one year apart as well (LinkedIn in December 2009 and Facebook in September 2010). Thus there is much similarity in the way India became prominent in both Social networks’ scheme of things.

Now, with roughly an year and over an year exposure of the Indian market (as of 1 June 2011 LinkedIn had 100 million members worldwide, with nine million in India; Facebook has 4% of its total users globally, or 25 million, in India back in 2007 this number was 100,000) both social networks seem to agree on one thing -- India has great potential for their respective businesses.

To reap this potential, which means still much growth in numbers, Facebook sees mobiles as the possible medium, says Javier Olivan, Head of International Growth, Facebook. This is no surprise, considering more than 50 percent mobile penetration in the country. To cater to this Facebook has especially focused on Facebook on mobile, taking the experience to most basic of phones.

LinkedIn, a social network for jobseekers, recruiters and professionals, is trying to connect talent in the country with opportunity on a massive scale. LinkedIn is aspiring to reach out to the 40 million professionals in the organized sector in India; primarily focusing on a lucrative category -- executives looking to manage their careers actively, says Hari V Krishnan, LinkedIn country manager. To tap this demography, the pro SN has come up with three revenue streams: 1) fees from users of premium services 2) advertising 3) Revenue earned from companies that use it for recruiting new talent. To expand the tow revenue streams viz. advertising and money from recruiters; LinkedIn has made sure anyone searching job, talent, useful networks, contacts can become a LinkedIn member for free.

Facebook which is available, apart from English, in five other Indian languages viz. -- Punjabi, Tamil, Telegu, Hindi, Malayalam and Bengali; treats advertising as its main revenue driver in India. With usage behavior of Indian mobile users seeing considerable change; coupled with high reach of mobile phones; Facebook’s focus on mobile devices seems in line with the reality. --------

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