Google 'to open Indonesia office before 2012'

Google plans to open an office in Indonesia soon as it looks to tap the country's huge growth in Internet users, the office of the country's vice president said Friday.

The announcement came after talks between Eric Schmidt, chairman of the US Internet giant, met Vice President Boediono in Jakarta, a spokesman said.

"The Vice President and Google's chairman held a meeting where Google expressed their interest to invest here and open a local office before 2012," the spokesman Yopie Hidayat told Dow Jones Newswires.

However, he did not give an exact time frame for opening.

Of Indonesia's population of more than 230 million, just 40 million were connected to the Internet, making the country an attractive market for web firms.

A study by Google rival Yahoo! found that Indonesia is the largest and fastest growing online market in Southeast Asia, with online usage growth of 48 percent in 2010, compared to 22 percent in 2009.

The country is also ranked third with the most registered Facebook users - after the US and Britain - with more than 22 million users.

"You already have large Facebook and Twitter communities. You have very high Google use already," he told reporters after the meeting.

"There are 50 million small businesses in Indonesia, I had no idea it was that large. Those (small businesses) will be the engine of growth for the future economy," he added.

Google Asia Business Development director Emmanuel Sauquet said last year that Indonesia was "the right place for us to come" due to its fastest economy growth.

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