FB Q4 Show Shines on Jio Free Of­fer So­cial net­work­ing site’s profit, rev­enue get a big boost

The Economic Times - - Companies: Pursuit Of Profit - Our Bu­reau

New Delhi: The free data of­fer rolled by bil­lion­aire Mukesh Am­bani’s Re­liance Jio In­fo­comm has con­trib­uted sig­nif­i­cantly to Face­book’s strong fourth quar­ter num­bers, with In­dia be­ing the so­cial me­dia gi­ant’s ‘strong­est’ growth mar­ket by user base, the US com­pany has said. Face­book on Wed­nes­day posted fourth quar­ter rev­enue of $8.81 bil­lion, which in­cludes $1.35 bil­lion from the Asia re­gion, sharply higher than the $5.84 bil­lion it posted a year ago. Net profit for the quar­ter to De­cem­ber came in at $3.57 bil­lion, more than dou­ble the $1.56 bil­lion it posted a year back.

Speak­ing at its earn­ings call, Face­book CFO David Wehner said the com­pany’s growth in Asia was boosted by the free data be­ing of­fered in In­dia.

“In the fourth quar­ter, wanted to call out that we have seen an in­crease in third-party pro­mo­tional free data plans in places like In­dia,” Wehner said. He was re­fer­ring to the free data be­ing of­fered by new tele­com en­trant Jio, which en­tered the mar­ket in early Septem­ber and does not charge for its voice and data ser­vices in a bid to at­tract users.

Jio’s free ser­vices, on of­fer till March 31, have also forced in­cum­bent tel­cos to slash data prices as well.

“So that (free of­fer) clearly is hav­ing an im­pact in APAC (Asia-Pa­cific) and In­dia was our strong­est growth mar­ket (by user base). So, that would be some­thing that I would say was a lit­tle bit more unique this past quar­ter,” Wehner said.

At fourth quar­ter end, Face­book had 165 mil­lion monthly ac­tive users in In­dia, largest in the world af­ter the US. The Cal­i­for­nia-head­quar­tered com­pany saw an 18% year-on-year con­sumer base growth to 1.23 bil­lion daily ac­tive users that in­clude 396 mil­lion from Asia. A re­cent study by Smar­tapp had pegged Face­book as the big­gest ben­e­fi­ciary of the free data of­fer from Re­liance Jio. The find­ing re­vealed that Face­book lo­gins had surged 467% af­ter the new en­trant Jio started free pro­mo­tional ser­vices.

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