Google announced today that it is opening a representative office in the Philippines, which will be headed by country manager Narciso Reyes and based in Manila. Reyes, a former Friendster exec, was brought on as sales head in the Philippines by Google last November. The Mountain View-based company plans to start hiring for its new office and will post job listings on its local site in the next few days. According to InterAksyon.com, Google has been filling positions in the Philippines since last spring, when job listings for that country started popping up on Google Singapore’s site.
“The Philippines is a key country in Southeast Asia in terms of its digital economy and tech-savvy population. This new office will allow us to better engage with our local users, partners and advertisers,” said Julian Persaud, managing director of Google in Southeast Asia.
Google’s Manila office is the fifth in Southeast Asia, which is one of Google’s fastest-growing regions thanks to its expanding middle class, and underscores the importance of the country to the company’s growth strategy. The Philippines currently has 33 million Internet users, a number that the Asia Digital Marketing Association (ADMA) expects to double by 2016. Its Singapore office opened in July 2007, followed by locations in Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia. The Philippines was the first country to get Google’s Free Zone last fall and every school there uses Google Apps for Education. Other localization initiatives have included the launch of YouTube Philippines in October 2011.