A little late but you know what they say, “better late than never”.
That was my first reaction when the news broke, “Facebook opened its new office in Indonesia”.
They chose Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia, which is also named as the world’s Facebook capital of 2011 as their Indonesian hub, serving the purpose of penetrating the remaining 80% of Indonesian population left untouched by Facebook so far. “We have 65 million users in Indonesia – and we’re focusing on the 80 percent of Indonesians who are still not connected“, said Dan Neary, Facebook’s Asia Pacific Vice President.
From a relatively small office in Pacific Place Building Jakarta, Facebook is ready to jazz up the tech – “war of the titans” in Indonesia, joining Google and Microsoft who had previously set up their office.
Why did Facebook set up their office in Indonesia?
Most people think that Facebook setting up an office in Indonesia might not mean that much, other than some budget cut from commuting needs, because the whole “techie army” is still comfortably staying in the Silicon Valley. While there are some people who might believe that Facebook is looking to recruit some Indonesian programmers and build their own Indonesian Programmers Team, we are not putting so much hope into it.
The main purpose of the office setting up might be for a research and development in the 250 million populated country. The abnormality of Indonesian Facebook users’ behavior (and not to mention the massive number) might be a great boost to Facebook’s hegemony all over Southeast Asia.
Recruitments were made, with a lot of stretches toward marketing and social research. It might take several months before we see any immediate effect from this new move, but there definitely is something going on. Could there be any localisation efforts made specifically tailored towards Indonesian crowd? Or could this be just a start of a hundred Facebook offices all over the globe?
Facebook opened an office in Singapore — its first in Southeast Asia — in 2010, and also has a physical presence in Malaysia. In total, it has 13 offices across the Asia Pacific region. It recently entered Vietnam through a partnership with Ogilvy.
The opportunities in Indonesia – Mobile
Earlier in June last year, Dan shared with Jakarta post that Indonesia stood out from other countries to Facebook because mobile had become a “more important factor in Indonesia than any other market” considering the penetration rates of mobile broadband compared to fixed broadband.
This, he added, was in tune with Facebook’s strategy to “become a more mobile company”.
Indonesia is a mobile-driven market. Mobile phone subscription in Indonesia – a country with over 240 million people – reached 290 million in 2012 as people frequently carried two or more devices.
To reach out to all these potential mobile users, Neary said in June last year that Facebook would continue collaborating with local mobile phone operators to promote Facebook usage among subscribers, a strategy the billion dollar company commonly adopts when growing its reach in Southeast Asia.
Late last year, the company has partnered with Philippine network provider Globe Telecom, where its subscribers will be able to access and use Facebook for free through their mobile browsers and its designated Facebook native app for a period of three months. No data charges will be applied to subscribers accessing Facebook.