Facebook looks set to reach a billion members by August with accelerating growth in developing countries, according to digital-marketing firm iCrossing.
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Last year Facebook announced it had reached 800 million users, but growth has slowed or stopped in many of its early adopting countries such as the US and the UK, says Gregory Lyons, a research and insight manager at iCrossing.
“However, developing countries such as India and Brazil have shown strong growth with India growing from 22 million users to 36 million and Brazil going from 13 million to 30 million in the last 9 months,” he wrote in a blog post.
India and Brazil are both large countries with millions of potential users who have yet to sign up to Facebook, with only 3% of India’s population on Facebook and 16% of Brazil’s compared with 49% of the US and 47% of the UK.
Lyons says countries such as these will clearly contribute heavily to Facebook’s continued growth, and using a process of linear regression on the data from the end of 2008 onwards, Facebook should reach a billion active users around August 2012.
Rival social networking service Google+ has a lot of catching up to do, with unofficial estimates putting it membership at around 400 million by the end of the year.
Facebook, which makes money by selling advertising that reaches Facebook members, is considering raising about $10bn in an Initial Public Offering that would value the company at more than $100bn, according to Bloomberg.