Corporate News

By Zsarlene B. ChuaReporter

With Manila office, Facebook aims to connect with business

Posted on April 22, 2016

INTERNET giant Facebook on Thursday officially opened its Manila office, as the tech giant seeks to connect its more than 49 million Filipino users not just with friends and family but with businesses as well.

FACEBOOK officials attended the launch of the company’s Manila office on April 21. From left to right are Dan Neary, Facebook Vice-President of Asia-Pacific; Leanne Dehaye, Facebook Manager for Southeast Asia -- Small and Medium Business; Digs Dimagiba, Facebook Head of Philippines; Kenneth Bishop, Facebook Managing Director, Southeast Asia.
“One of the objectives of why we set up the office here is to better serve...businesses,” Dan Neary, vice-president for Asia-Pacific of Facebook, said during Thursday’s launch at Shooting Gallery Studios in Makati.

Mr. Neary noted Southeast Asia is the fastest growing region for the company with the Philippines playing a large role in the said growth.

Based on its internal data as of Dec. 2015, more than 49 million Filipinos use Facebook every month, representing 91% of Internet users in the country. Of the total, more than 27 million check Facebook every day.

More than 44 million or 90% of Filipino users also access the site monthly using their mobile devices, while more than 24 million access Facebook daily on mobile.

To compare, Facebook reported 1.59 billion monthly active users, of which 65% check the site every day. In Southeast Asia, Facebook data showed more than 241 million people use the site every month, while over 144 million use it everyday.

Mr. Neary kept mum on details of its Manila office, although he did say the move included a “significant investment.”

The Manila team, he said, will be targeting “agencies, large businesses... and small and medium-sized businesses as well” to encourage them to leverage on Facebook services to supplement their marketing efforts.

The company noted more than 32 million Filipino Facebook users are connected to a “business page.” It also cited a TNS survey dated March 2016 that showed 95% of Filipino Facebook users discover new products and brands on the platform, and of which 64% have made a purchase.

Even with its Manila office, Mr. Neary said this does not guarantee that there will be faster roll-out of new Facebook services, such as “chatbots,” in the Philippines. Launched on April 12, chatbots are automated programs on the Messenger app aimed at improving customer service by helping users communicate better with businesses.

However, he said that having a team in the Philippines will give the Filipino Facebook community “more of a voice” on what they want and need from the social networking site.

Facebook also announced the appointment of Digs Dimagiba, the former mobile business director for Samsung Electronics in the Philippines, as the head of Philippines for Facebook.