2016-03-20neary

Facebook, as we all know, has a gargantuan user base — some 1.59 billion people, to be exact.

And as its recent earnings show, the company is doing extremely well, raking in more than $1 billion in quarterly profit for the first time.

Last week here in Singapore I spoke with Dan Neary (pictured), Facebook’s Asia-Pacific vice president, about big picture trends in the region.

In short, the company seems to have many reasons to be bullish on continued Asia expansion.

The story begins:

Facebook Inc. is adding users in Asia at a much faster rate than other parts of the world, an executive said, showing the recent controversy over the firm’s free Internet service in India is not deterring the social networking giant’s expansion in this part of the world.

Dan Neary, Facebook’s vice president for Asia Pacific, told The Wall Street Journal in an interview Tuesday that some 540 million of Facebook’s 1.59 billion monthly active users were in Asia as of the end of December, up from 449 million a year earlier.

Facebook is adding users in Asia at a rate of about 20% annually compared to 14% globally, he said.

“The potential is greater in Asia-Pacific than it is in any other region because we’ve got two thirds of the world’s population, and it’s all mobile,” Mr. Neary said.

Also, for the first time, Instagram has broken out the number of users in a country outside the U.S.: It has 22 million in Indonesia, up from 11 million a year ago:

Mr. Neary pointed out that the company’s image-sharing platform, Instagram, is popular in many parts of Asia, as is its WhatsApp messaging app. Instagram is making particularly big gains in Indonesia, Mr. Neary said, which is a key global market due to its population of 250 million.

The service now has some 22 million monthly active users, up from 11 million a year earlier, making it one of Instagram’s fastest growing markets. Instagram has not previously broken out its user base by country, though it said in September that more than 75% of its community is outside the U.S.

Again, the full story in online here.