Facebook launches Mideast office in Dubai

May 30, 2012 by ADAM SCHRECK
From left to right, Joanna Shields, Facebook's Vice president and Managing Director for Europe, Jonathan Labin, Head of Global Marketing Solutions in the Middle East and North Africa, and Christian Hernandez Gallardo Director of Platform Partnership, speak to journalists during the Facebook opening of it's first Middle East and North Africa office at the Armani hotel in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Wednesday, May 30, 2012. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)

(AP) — Facebook Inc. launched its first office in the Arab world Wednesday, aiming to drum up new advertising business from Dubai as investors fret over its struggling share price.

The online meet-up site and other social networking tools were instrumental in connecting activists during the wave of protests and revolutions that reverberated across the region last year.

But Joanna Shields, Facebook's vice president and managing director for Europe, the Mideast and Africa, said the decision to lay down roots in the region was purely commercial.

"People on Facebook ... use it to organize rallies for all kinds of elections around the world," she said. "We're humbled by that and we are happy that we can facilitate. But we always downplay the (site's) role because it's really the people there who came together and did what they did."

The office is starting with three employees in Dubai's Internet City, a business park popular with tech firms including Microsoft Corp. and Google Inc.

Facebook's website lists some 30 offices globally.

The aim is to attract more ad sales by targeting the 45 million users that Facebook says it has across the Middle East and North Africa.

Executives declined to say how much revenue the region currently generates or what their goals are for the future.

Emirati men stand on an escalator under the Facebook logo during the Facebook opening of the first Middle East and North Africa office at the Armani hotel in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Wednesday, May 30, 2012. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)

In 2010, Facebook teamed with Cairo-based advertising company Connect Ads to better reach advertisers in the region.

Jonathan Labin, who will lead the Dubai office, said existing advertisers in the region include Dubai-based Emirates, the region's biggest airline.

The Dubai launch follows Facebook's May 18 initial public offering at $38 a share, one of the most anticipated stock debuts in history.

The stock had lost 24 percent of its value ahead of the Dubai launch, which was held in the plush Armani Hotel at the base of the Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest skyscraper.

While the share's gyrations are a hot topic on Wall Street, Shields said Facebook employees are not fixated on reports about the stock's slide.

"I don't even listen to it, to be honest ... because I've got a job to do," she said. "I think we're just getting on with it."

Explore further: Microsoft CEO sees 'bold' plan as 4Q tops Street

1 /5 (1 vote)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Tale of the tape: Google versus Facebook

May 17, 2012

Facebook is the hottest Internet company to hit the stock market since Google went public in 2004. The Silicon Valley companies, located seven miles apart, also happen to be locked in a bitter battle for Web surfers' allegiance ...

Facebook says Asia is fastest-growing market

Sep 21, 2010

Asia is the fastest-growing region for new subscribers to social networking site Facebook despite restrictions on access in China, a senior company executive said on Tuesday.

Facebook staff might sell fortune in stock: report

Feb 10, 2011

Facebook may let employees sell up to $1 billion in shares at a price that would value the social networking service at $60 billion, technology news website All Things Digital said Thursday.

Recommended for you

Microsoft CEO sees 'bold' plan as 4Q tops Street

10 hours ago

(AP)—Microsoft Corp. CEO Satya Nadella painted an upbeat vision of the future Tuesday, saying that the next version of Windows will be unified across screens of all sizes and that two money-losing units—Nokia ...

Apple's fiscal 3Q earnings top analyst forecasts

21 hours ago

Apple's growth prospects are looking brighter as anticipation builds for the upcoming release of the next iPhone, a model that is expected to cater to consumers yearning for a bigger screen.

Verizon 2Q profit rises 93 percent

Jul 22, 2014

Verizon reported Tuesday that its second-quarter earnings nearly doubled after it secured full ownership of Verizon Wireless.

User comments : 0