MUMBAI (Reuters) - Popular social-networking site Facebook will open an office in India, joining a long list of international firms that have looked to tap a skilled workforce that provides support services at relatively cheap wages.
Facebook’s office in the southern Indian city of Hyderabad will support users, advertisers and developers in India and around the world, the company said in a statement on Monday.
Hyderabad also houses other foreign firms, including Internet powerhouse Google and software giant Microsoft, whose Indian employees work on everything from writing software codes to providing customer services at cheaper salaries than in developed nations such as the United States.
Facebook, which lets users connect and share information with friends online, has emerged as one of the Internet’s most popular destinations, challenging established players like Yahoo Inc and Google.
Facebook counts around 400 million users and has had large investments from Microsoft and from Russian investment company Digital Sky Technologies.
More than 8 million of Facebook’s total users are in India, the company’s director of global online operations, Don Faul, said in a post on the Facebook blog.
Seventy percent of the people using Facebook are outside the United States and are accessing the service from more than 70 languages, he said.
Facebook’s office in Hyderabad will supplement operations supported out of Palo Alto, California, Dublin, Ireland and a recently announced location in Austin, Texas.
“By having multiple support centers in a variety of time zones, we can provide better round-the-clock, multi-lingual support,” Faul said.
Facebook has increased its focus on its financial performance. In September, Facebook said it had become free-cash-flow positive — meaning that the company makes enough money to cover the costs associated with running the service — ahead of schedule.
Internet search engines run by Google and Microsoft are increasingly interested in incorporating the growing trove of user-generated content from social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter into their search results in a bid to boost online advertising revenue.
Facebook will initially recruit a small team in India, and anticipates further growth as the office expands. It is hiring people to join the online sales and operations teams that it is forming in the Hyderabad and Austin offices, Faul said.
Reporting by Pratish Narayanan; Editing by Aradhana Aravindan