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Social networking giant Facebook, which plans to raise $5 billion through an IPO, has said India is a key source for its future growth and its user base in the country has more than doubled in the past one year.

The growth of 132 per cent in India has been higher than many other countries, including the home market of the US.

It has also acknowledges that Facebook platform faces competition from internet giant Google’s social media platform Orkut in India, among other rivals in different countries.

The company plans to list its shares on the New York Stock Exchange after its Initial Public Offer (IPO), which could value the company as high as $100 billion.

Facebook monitors its user base through the number of Monthly Active Users (MAUs), among other metrics. An MAU is a registered Facebook user who logs in and visits Facebook, shares content or indulges in other activities in the last 30 days as of the date of measurement.

“As of December 31, 2011, we had 845 million MAUs, an increase of 39 per cent from December 31, 2010,” Facebook said in the regulatory documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for its IPO.

“We experienced growth across different geographies, with users in Brazil and India representing a key source of growth,” it said.

“… we had 46 million MAUs in India as of December 31, 2011, an increase of 132 per cent from the prior year,” Facebook said, while adding that the growth in the US was 16 per cent and 268 per cent in Brazil for the same period.

It had 161 million MAUs in the US and 37 million in Brazil as of December 31, 2011.

Listing out its strategy, Facebook said it would “continue to focus on growing our user base across all geographies, including relatively less-penetrated, large markets such as Brazil, Germany, India, Japan, Russia, and South Korea.”

“We compete broadly with Google’s social networking offerings, including Google+, and also with other, largely regional, social networks that have strong positions in particular countries, including Cyworld in Korea, Mixi in Japan, Orkut (owned by Google) in Brazil and India…”

It said there are estimated to be over two billion global internet users and Facebook aimed to connect all of them.

“We have achieved varying levels of penetration within the population of Internet users in different countries,” it said, while noting that its penetration rate in India was estimated to be 20-30 per cent.

“… in China, where Facebook access is restricted, we have near zero penetration. We continue to invest in growing our user base, particularly in markets where we are relatively less penetrated,” it added.

Facebook said it has operations teams to provide support for users, developers, and advertisers in four regional centers, including one at Hyderabad in India.

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