BEVERLEY HILLS, California: News Corporation's online network MySpace is to launch versions in the fast-emerging economies of Brazil, India, Poland and Russia during the next four months.

The quartet will join MySpace's 24 existing local sites in twenty countries and in 12 languages.

The network is expanding across Europe but faces stiff competition. In the UK, for example, it has been overtaken by arch-rival Facebook or Bebo - depending on which researcher provides the data.

Nor may the going be any easier in the new territories. In Poland, local site has more than 1.3 million registered users, while in Russia, LiveJournal and are hugely popular. Markets in Brazil and India are dominated by Orkut, the social networking site owned by Google.

Comments Jupiter Research analyst Nick Thomas: "There is a limit to how many networks people want to join, and the longer the head-start local companies have, the harder it is to compete."

Ripostes Travis Katz, head of MySpace's international operations: "We are now moving into countries that are at a much earlier stage of development. Russia, for example, does not have a huge online advertising market.

"But the time to go in is now, when we can capitalise on the growth in these markets."

Data sourced from Financial Times Online; additional content by WARC staff