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Daily Dutch News in English

Facebook opens office in Amsterdam

The social networking site Facebook has opened an office in Amsterdam to be closer to companies in the Benelux, in an attempt to entice them to advertise on the site.

The Facebook office in Amsterdam will start with four employees, but will have room to expand.

Facebook has no plans yet to boost the number of users in the Netherlands. “People can create an account if they want” said Arno Lubrun who is responsible for Facebook in the Benelux.

Facebook has 4.8 million active users in the Netherlands, which makes the company roughly half as big as Hyves. The number of Hyves members is slightly increasing, the number of Facebook members grows each month by a few percent. Belgium has 4.5 million Facebook users, Luxembourg 235,000.

Facebook and Hyves are not direct competitors. “There are many social networks around the world which we compete with, and we will just use our strength,” said Lubrun.

Also, the Dutch social network Hyves stresses that Facebook is not seen as a direct competitor. They can coexist, says Hyves. “Especially by setting ourselves apart in the areas of personal and local”.

The Benelux division of Facebook will approach local businesses in various ways to do advertising on Facebook. The market is big. Advertisers spent 145 million Euros on Internet ads in 2010, according to figures from research agency Nielsen.

Lubrun thinks that the Dutch users will see more advertisements and promotions on Facebook in the future, mainly local listings. “But they only get to see them if they want,” promises Lubrun.

Facebook has more than half billion users worldwide.