Today, Friday, Facebook’s stock starts trading. Public demand is expected to explode and at its initial offering price of $38 a share, the social media giant is now worth more than established heavyweights Disney and Kraft, notes Business Insider.
Analysts are still largely divided as to whether the just 8-year old company is a good investment. Cynics say that Facebook’s current numbers aren’t even close to matching the hype, whereas analysts in favour of investing in Facebook straight away are arguing that Facebook’s endless source of highly personalised information on almost half of the entire internet population provides unprecedented growth opportunities that could eventually make its $100+ billion valuation look like child’s play.
One thing that cannot be argued, however, is that Facebook continues to grow its user base globally, with growth now being driven by emerging markets. Facebook’s growth in Brazil, in particular, has been unheard of. Keep in mind that just one year ago Google’s Orkut was by far the leading social network in the country (Google+ is growing fast in the country, though).
In Japan, however, Facebook’s reach is way below its global average since Japanese have proven more keen on blogs and microblogging sites in general. Here’s a list by Nielsen of global visitors to Facebook in March 2012 for 12 selected markets:
Facebook has still to come up with a way to monetise its mobile platform, which is now being accessed by a staggering 500 million unique users – especially users in emerging markets rely on their mobile devices to access the popular social network. Surely, the solution Facebook comes up with will largely determine whether Facebook was hyped way out of proportion or if its $100 billion valuation was in fact child’s play.
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