Facebook’s 2000% Growth in Argentina Helped by Translation and Mobile Penetration

Facebook’s international numbers are growing larger every day, and Argentina is one of the countries leading the charge.  At the beginning of 2008, less than 100,000 people in Argentina (with a population of 40 million) had accounts on Facebook.  Now – just one year later – about 2 million Argentines, or 5.3% of Argentina’s population, are on Faceboook. That’s an annual growth rate of over 2000% for the year.

This growth hasn’t been limited to Argentina — other South American countries like Chile, Venezuela, and Peru have also had remarkable growth at rates of 3768%, 1277%, and 328%, respectively.

The growth spur in Argentina and its neighboring countries has likely been caused by the inherent value that Facebook offers as a new communication tool.  In addition, a Spanish language version of the site was launched in February. But luckily for Facebook and its users, there is another dynamic that’s lending a helping hand to Facebook’s popularity and adding to its utility — mobile phone usage.

This past October, Telefonica, a leading mobile service provider in Spanish and Portuguese speaking countries, signed an agreement with Facebook to add direct access from its mobile portals. Deals like this, combined with the high mobile phone penetration rates in the Southern cone of South America (nearly 60%), are a major reason Facebook has exploded in the region during the second half of 2008.

Facebook usage in South America is only going to incerase in 2009.  The real question is whether we’ll see increased adoption of Facebook for mobile in the region over the coming year.