By Tim Seymour
While Facebook is evolving into a global machine, the regional social networks may do better in emerging markets where they can build on truly local appeal.
A place like Russia is a great example. VKontakte, the biggest social networking site in Russia, is reportedly in the early stages of setting up an initial public offering of stock on the U.S. market.
If so, the process will be complex and slow — simply aligning the accounting standards to allow an emerging markets company to list in the United States can take months, so do not expect an IPO here before early 2012.
But the underlying growth story should remain intact. Social networks by definition are local, which gives local vendors an edge when it comes to thwarting competition from global players like Facebook.
A place like Russia is a great example, and besides, Russian Internet incubator Mail.ru already owns a piece of both Facebook and VKontakte.
Either way, more attention on the Russian Internet story is good. We always knew these guys were running Silicon Valley!