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Facebook opens engineering office in London

The social network's first engineering office outside the U.S. will start small, focusing on key products such as mobile and platform, the London team leader says.

It seems that everyone is going to London lately, so why should the world's largest social network be left out?

Facebook announced today it has opened an engineering office in the U.K. capital, its first engineering office outside the U.S. Calling London "a perfect fit" for Facebook engineering, Facebook software engineer and London team leader Philip Su touted the city's advantages in a Facebook post this evening.

"It's a global hub, and it has a vibrant local startup community with lots of great technical talent," Su said. "Our team in London will start small, focusing on building a core of great engineers, and then grow over time and eventually focus on building products in key areas like mobile and platform. "

That description of the office's planned growth is reflected on Facebook's job openings page, which lists 22 positions. While only five of them are for software engineers, five are also for recruiters.

The expansion comes as the company increases its focus on international markets. While user growth has stagnated in the United States, growth in Asia and South America has picked up. From last December to May, Facebook user growth in the U.S. was just 0.86 percent, compared with nearly 66 percent for Japan, 54 percent for Brazil and 20 percent for India, Web site monitor Pingdom found.

"It seems evident that Facebook needs an expansion plan that involves all corners of the world, but that focuses on certain regions, like Africa and Asia," Pingdom said in its report.

The social-networking giant seemed to agree, saying in a May regulatory filing with the SEC that users in India and Brazil "represent key sources of our growth."

The new London office will join Facebook's network of engineering offices, which include New York, Seattle, and its Menlo Park, Calif., headquarters.