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