Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg on Wednesday said the world’s largest social network had no intention of launching a smartphone.
“We are the number one thing people do on their phones. I don’t think we need to do hardware. We are doing very well with the software,” she told a select gathering of journalists in New Delhi. Sandberg said Facebook was the leading mobile application in almost every single market it was in.
“Our mission is to connect the world. Not only do we want to connect every person to every person, we also want to enable commerce,” she said, adding that during her trip to India she has been talking to different stakeholders on how they can do personalisation at scale for marketing.
Facebook now considers India its second largest market after the US as far as users are concerned. “In the US, we are by far the number one mobile app, bigger than the next seven combined,” she said, adding that while Facebook has been able to cover a large portion of the US population, it does not represent a large section of the population here even with 100 million users.
“This means there is a huge opportunity for growth here.” She said Facebook already reaches four times more people than the most popular TV show in India. Incidentally, Sandberg, who has worked for Google as well as the United States Secretary of the Treasury, started her career in India in 1991 as part of a World Bank project on leprosy in Madhya Pradesh.
“There were 3-4 million leprosy cases when I was last here, now there are less than a 100,000,” she said, adding this underlined the resilience of the Indian people. “We think about access as opportunity and believe that people need access to basic communication,” she said, adding that Facebook will be working towards enabling access to information from the government. In fact, Facebook has joined hands with Indian telecom major Airtel to provide education to children in Rwanda, she added.