Professional social networking website LinkedIn, which staged its IPO in June of this year, opened its first office in Latin America, in São Paolo, Brazil. LinkedIn’s opening of its São Paolo office is part of broader efforts to expand internationally. The company started operations in Japan last month and in May launched its Asia headquarters in Singapore.
Osvaldo Barbosa de Oliveira, a former Microsoft executive who worked for the American multinational for 21 years, was named country manager for the LinkedIn office in Brazil, which will serve the region’s 14 million members and support its growth and development in Latin America. Oliveira, speaking to the Silicon Republic about the new office, said: “This is a great first step in the expansion of our office in Latin America, and I’m looking forward to helping Brazilian professionals become more productive and successful on LinkedIn.
Oliveira will head efforts by the professional networking website to increase brand awareness and encourage more people to use LinkedIn. Oliveira will focus on increasing user engagement, forming strategic partnerships, general operations, and sales and marketing. The Portuguese language version of LinkedIn launched in April 2010, helping to boost the number of Brazilian users six-fold to six million.
Oliveira expressed optimism about LinkedIn’s potential in Brazil: “There is a huge opportunity in Brazil for LinkedIn’s growth, and I’m excited to oversee the opening of our first office and the establishment of a local team.”
LinkedIn’s efforts at growth in Latin America seem to be focused on Brazil as evidenced by the new office there, the Portuguese communication channels it is setting up, including the Twitter account @linkedinbrazil, and this blog post announcing the opening of the Sao Paolo office. Further, LinkedIn views Brazil as a starting point for launch of later efforts to enter and expand in Spanish speaking countries.
Portuguese is the official and most widely spoken language in Brazil, although Spanish is spoken in border areas and schools, according to the CIA World Factbook.