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Wednesday, 5 February 2014
Facebook explores local market as biggest delegation visits Nigeria
Facebook Inc. is exploring the possibility of setting up a regional office in Nigeria as a delegation from its European headquarters in Dublin visits Nigeria.
“This is the biggest delegation that we have come out with and I wanted to come and see what is going on in one of the most exciting countries in Africa,” Nicola Mendelsohn, FaceBook VP for Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), who is leading the delegation, said in a Jan. 27 interview with BusinessDay, in Lagos.
“It has been an action packed couple of days meeting with clients, and consumers, understanding how they use technology and getting a feel for the market place. This is a market with such fantastic potential and growth. We can also see it with our own numbers.”
Facebook’s 42 million users in Sub-Saharan Africa SSA make up only 3.5 percent of the tech company’s 1.2 billion global users.
However the growing economies in Africa and other emerging markets is seen by analysts as providing huge pay-off for companies that tap into that growth early.
One area of potential growth is mobile advertising where Facebook currently gets 49 percent of its global revenues from.
Electronic commerce is booming in Nigeria as Africa’s largest cell phone market converges with increasingly cheaper internet access.
Nigeria had 120 million active cell phone lines and 56 million internet subscribers, as at September 2013 according to data from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), while International bandwidth brought by undersea cables, has increased about 26 times to more than 9,000 gigabits per second (9 terabits) over the past four years.
“Something unique about this market is the uptake of mobile and how mobile is driving everything,” said Mendelsohn.
“Konga.com…did some advertising with us in the latter part of 2013 and their revenues increased by 300 percent as a result.”
The number of payments in Nigeria made by mobile phone’s more than doubled to 2.4 million in the first half of 2012 from the same period a year earlier, while internet payments rose 9.3 percent, according to recent data from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
Nigeria plans to grow its mobile broadband access to 80 per cent of the population and fixed broadband access to roughly 20 per cent by the year 2017 from 4 percent now according to the National Broadband Plan 2013-2018.
Mendelsohn says another interesting aspect of the local market is that Nigerian businesses that want to go global often use Facebook as a way of targeting the world.
“We see this from small and large Nigerian businesses who want to send their message accross to people in London, New York or Mumbai, about what is going on in Nigeria.”
Facebooks Nigerian clients range from the large corporate’s such as MTN, or Procter and Gamble, to smaller up and coming start-ups.
Facebook reported last October, that its third quarter 2013 revenues surged 60 percent to $2.02 billion, compared with $1.26 billion in the earlier period of 2012.
Advertising made up 89 percent of total revenues or $1.80 billion, with payments and fees making up the rest.
The Menlo Park California based company operates a social networking website that allows people to communicate with their family, friends and coworkers.
Facebook had a market value of $136 billion, as at January 27, 2014.