The Future of Facebook Is in India

By 2015, India will have more Facebook (FB) users than any other country on Earth—tilting the social networking action away from the West and toward one of the fastest-growing emerging markets on the planet.

As of right now, India has close to 46,307,580 Facebook users, according to Socialbakers, a social media analytics firm in London. This makes India the third-biggest Facebook market, behind the U.S., now at 156,830,580 users, and Brazil, with 48,041,640.

The number of Indian Facebook users is growing 22 percent every six months, meaning that India will edge out the U.S. toward the end of 2014, when both countries are expected to have 170 million to 175 million members.

Also, Facebook has aggressively targeted younger people. Says Cara Pring, a social media blogger in Sydney: “While it’s common to see a slight overrepresentation of younger age groups (i.e., 18 to 34) on social media channels, in India this group represents a huge 76 percent of all Facebook users. It’s clear that this age group is driving the social media revolution within the country.”

In 2010, Facebook opened an office in Hyderabad, India’s high-tech hub. Naidu says this has helped the company market to advertisers and forge agreements with cell-phone service providers—important in a country where most Facebook users log on via hand-held devices.