Facebook Begins to Compete with Amazon and Flipkart

Facebook throws down the gauntlet to Amazon and Flipkart

Times of India reports that Facebook is to let small businesses in emerging markets sell to customers for free directly through their Facebook pages, the social media company said on Wednesday, marking a new effort to build up potential advertisers in its fastest-growing regions. The move is Facebook's first foray onto online commerce in emerging markets. The company launched a service last year allowing some merchants to sell items through paid ads on Facebook's app. The latest service will instead be free, and purchases can be made through merchants' own Facebook pages. By making sellers more reliant on Facebook, the company hopes that more businesses in emerging markets will eventually decide to become paying advertisers.

"If a business is seeing value from their page, there is a higher opportunity that they could be an advertiser," said Benji Shomair, product marketing director of Facebook Pages, in an interview. Facebook, whose stock hit its all-time high last week after reporting sharp growth in ad sales, has about 3 million active advertisers. But there are more than 60 million businesses worldwide using its service that can set up pages for free in an attempt to reach more customers out of Facebook's 1.7 billion global monthly users.

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