Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) has invested an undisclosed amount in an undersea cable project in Asia aimed at improving Internet availability and speeds for users in the region. The 6,214-mile Asia Pacific Gateway cable will run directly from Malaysia to South Korea and Japan, with links branching off to other countries, and is scheduled to be completed in October 2014.
Among other investors in the $450 million project are Chinese Internet service providers China Telecom (NYSE:CHA) and China Unicom (NYSE:CHU). The cable is expected to help in sending and receiving data from North America faster by lowering dependency on Singapore as the main gateway for Internet traffic.
Facebook is hoping its investment will bring in even more members from a region that includes some of its fastest growing markets. “Our investment in this cable will help support our growth in South Asia, making it possible for us to provide a better user experience for a greater number of Facebook users in countries like India, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Hong Kong, and Singapore,” a spokesman told the BBC.
While Facebook’s growth in the US has shown some signs of slowing, a study suggests the social network was still rapidly getting new users in Asia. According to a Nielsen report, the number of PC-using visitors from Japan to Facebook’s site had more than doubled during the year until May. It has also been reported to be seeing rapid growth in India, South Korea, and the Philippines.
In 2008, Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) had invested in $300 million in the Trans-Pacific Unity submarine cable system linking the U.S. and Japan and then made another investment in the Southeast Asia Japan Cable system a year later.
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