Facebook Plans to Open Its Indonesian Office Later This Year
Facebook has hired Daud I. Aditirto, formerly director of business development for Opera Software, to be its growth manager for Indonesia. Despite the description on the job vacancy listing, Aditirto will be based in Jakarta, reporting to the Singapore office. He officially joined Facebook back in January.
Aditirto’s role is to identify opportunities for Facebook, increase member activities, and liaise with current and potential partners. Given his previous position at Opera, it’s a role that he won’t be too unfamiliar with. He oversaw the rise of Opera mini’s popularity in Indonesia, established partnerships for the browser company, and engaged with the local communities. Aditirto’s role at Facebook mirrors that of Henky Prihatna who spearheaded Google’s efforts in Indonesia a year prior to the company’s establishment of an office in the country in early 2012.
Facebook’s dealings in Indonesia had been mostly done by Komli Media on its behalf as the agency has been primarily focusing on ad sales and market research for Facebook over the past couple of years. Aditirto’s presence will certainly add an air of legitimacy in dealings with local companies and provide a direct channel to Facebook for corporations who wish to communicate with the company. He wouldn’t say if Facebook will be handling its Indonesian ad sales directly.
If one of the biggest questions in your mind is “when will Facebook open an office in Indonesia?”, we have an answer for you. Indonesia has been among the top countries on Facebook for the last several years, now with more than 48 million monthly active members as of this month, but the Menlo Park company has yet to establish presence in the country. We have confirmed with Aditirto that Facebook will set up an office in Indonesia in the second half of this year. He may be the only local hire right now but with plans to open an Indonesian office, there’s bound to be more vacancies opening up this year.
The Indonesian office will primarily be concerned with marketing and partnerships as well as what Aditirto calls “user operations”, which is essentially customer service. Currently all member queries are handled by a team in Dublin but with the establishment of an Indonesian office, it looks like Facebook wants to find out if its Indonesian queries can be handled locally. Facebook has also hired another Indonesian software developer to be working out of its headquarters in Menlo Park but he is currently awaiting visa approval. This developer recently interned at Facebook.
Will Mark Zuckerberg set up a developer team at Facebook’s Indonesian office? That possibility is still open but many local and foreign technology companies have expressed dismay at the difficulties in hiring local software talents. Reasons range from lack of required skills to unwillingness to go corporate. Yahoo axed its entire Indonesian engineering division in March last year while Google’s developer hires are being placed in either Australia or Mountain View.
Asia is increasingly becoming an important market for Facebook. With Asian messenger apps quickly taking hold in the region and becoming platforms themselves, it’s crucial for Facebook to re-establish its identity and refresh its image for the increasingly mobile generation. While there are more active Facebook users in Indonesia compared to this time last year, SocialBakers notes that over the last six months, there’s been a drop of more than 1.5 million users which coincides with the rise of the Asian messenger apps as well as Path making inroads in the country. Clearly Indonesians are increasingly adopting alternative social platforms which means Aditirto’s job won’t be a walk in the park.
As Mike Isaac said in his piece for AllThingsD, American Facebook users are “not the ones Facebook is concerned with”.
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