HYDRABAD: Facebook, the world's biggest social network, is hoping to achieve rapid growth in India after opening its first office in the country.

Around 70% of the service's 500m members are drawn from outside the US, but considerable room for expansion remains in India, which currently contributes less than 5% of this figure.

"We are seeing a tonne of momentum with our 15 million users, developers and advertisers right here in India," said Kirthiga Reddy, director of online operations at Facebook's Indian arm.

"It's an incredible time to be starting our operations in India."

To engage netizens in the Asian nation, the Web 2.0 giant is hosting a competition asking local artists to submit designs for decorating its new hub in Hydrabad.

Facebook has been locked in an intense rivalry with Orkut, a platform run by Google, to gain category leadership in India.

Meenal Balar, Facebook's international marketing manager, suggested mobile should play a key role going forward, given the comparatively limited penetration of desktop PCs.

"The mobile operators and handsets market is a big opportunity for us as increased number of users will access internet on their mobile handsets," she argued.

Data sourced from mydigitalfc; additional content by Warc staff