Facebook vows aggressive investment as earnings surge

San Francisco: Facebook shares bounced with word that profit more than doubled in the final quarter of last year, coming back down after a vow to spend heavily on the future.
In earnings that topped most forecasts, Facebook said it made a net profit of $3.7 billion on revenue of $8.6 billion in the fourth quarter, as compared with profit of $1.6 billion on $5.6 billion in revenue in the same period a year earlier.
Meanwhile, the number of people using the leading social network monthly increased 17 per cent to 1.86 billion. The ranks of people accessing Facebook from mobile devices each month grew to 1.74 billion, an increase of 21 per cent from the same period a year earlier.
Money taken in from ads on mobile devices accounted for about 84 per cent of the social network’s overall advertising revenue in the final quarter of last year. “We believe concerns over user engagement and other social competitors are likely overblown, as few companies share Facebook’s combination of scale, strong technology orientation, and platform breath/diversity,” Baird research analyst Colin Sebastian said in a note to investors.
Facebook saw strong growth in Asia, with India being a hot market in the quarter. The social network still hopes to get into China, where the service is not allowed. “Our mission is to connect everyone in the world and it’s hard to do that over the long term if we don’t find a way to serve the more than billion people who live in China,” Zuckerberg said while answering questions from analysts on an earnings call. — AFP