Chamath Palihapitiya, VP of growth, mobile and international, Facebook

Charged with growing usage of Facebook around the world and on the mobile platform, Chamath Palihapitiya appears to be performing well. A recent study of UK users between the ages of 16 and 35 revealed that more than a third of the surveyed demographic regularly accesses Facebook accounts from their mobile phone. This is more than the number that access Bebo, Twitter and Myspace combined.

Social networking is seen as linked inextricably with the growth of mobile broadband usage, with experiments like the INQ Facebook handset (marketed by Hutchison’s carrier 3) proving notably popular. The blue icon of the Facebook mobile application is an increasingly ubiquitous sight on mobile screens and is helping to stimulate mobile internet usage by effectively removing the “mobile internet” from the equation.

The future internationalisation of Facebook is likely to be increasingly mobile based. Currently the firm has 30 million mobile users, and says that more than 150 mobile operators in 50 countries are currently “working to deploy and promote Facebook mobile products.”

When you consider that the firm’s fastest growing demographic is those over 35 years’ old and that its sign-up rates are accelerating (it went from 100 million to 150 million customers between August 2008 and January 2009, moving to 200 million by April of this year), it becomes clear that, if successful, Palihapitiya could be responsible for one of the most widespread and popular mobile applications ever seen.

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