The Facebook Hustle
Facebook Inc (NASDAQ: FB) was arguably the catalyst for the social media explosion seen over the past ten years, but the company has been working to expand its portfolio as consumer preferences shift and attention spans become increasingly shorter.
WhatsApp Proves A Solid Investment
In 2014, the site acquired WhatsApp messenger for $22 billion, as mobile messaging services began to overtake traditional email in terms of popularity. The decision appears to have paid off, as data from the messaging app showed that it had reached 700 million monthly active users as of December 2014.
Since then, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been working to make deals that will add value to the company by expanding its offerings.
Last week, Facebook made a move toward independently hosting videos on its own platform by agreeing to acquire QuickFire Networks Corp, a video processing startup. While QuickFire’s video compression technology could help Facebook compete against the likes of YouTube and Vimeo, the real benefit will be found in advertising revenue.
With Facebook boasting top-notch user data, companies will likely be willing to pay a premium to feature their ads on the video service as they are more likely to reach their target audience.
Facebook’s acquisition of Wit.ai last week has markets alight with speculation about how the site will leverage the startup’s voice recognition technology. Wit.ai’s specialization in turning speech into usable data has many expecting that the social media site will soon introduce a voice recognition program much like Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL)'s Siri.
Chinese Market Expansion
Government controls in China have kept Facebook from extending its service into one of the world’s largest economies, but Zuckerberg is working to change that.
In hopes to pick up a China-based partner to help ease the transition, Zuckerberg met with Xiaomi Inc. CEO Lei Jun back in October to discuss the possibility of a deal. Xiaomi is China’s largest smartphone manufacturer, but has yet to expand stateside. Despite talks, the two were unable to come to an agreement, but that doesn’t mean Facebook has given up on finding a Chinese partner.
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