Google has continued to build its local focus in Southeast Asia after the search giant opened an office in the Philippines. The new location is its fifth in the region, which has a combined population of more than 600 million people.

The office will be located in the country’s capital city of Manila and is headed up by Narciso Reyes, an executive with 16 years of marketing experience who was formerly with one-time Facebook rival Friendster and Web advertising firm Komli. Reyes had been Head of Sales for the Philippines so it’s entirely logical that, with an office opening, he heads up operations in the country.

Google says it is actively hiring staff for the Manila office and that openings will be posted to its local jobs page (here) “in the coming days”.

“This new office will allow us to better engage with our local users, partners and advertisers. Over 33 million Filipinos access the Internet regularly…and Internet use in the Philippines is set to grow exponentially. Research indicates that the number of Filipinos online will have nearly doubled by 2016,” said Julian Persaud, Managing Director of Google in Southeast Asia.

Government Undersecretary Manuel L. Quezon III also provided comment. “We are delighted that Google has decided to set up an office in Manila. Their presence is a testament to their commitment to the Philippines. We hope that Google’s entry will encourage more local businesses to go online and tap into international markets,” he said.

The Philippines has been an important country for Google in the past, it’s the location that was chosen for the debut of Free Zone, it was a key early adopter of the Chrome browser — which has been the most used on the Web since May 2012.

The office in Manila becomes Google’s fifth in Southeast Asia, alongside Singapore (its Asia Pacific headquarters), IndonesiaThailand and Malaysia.

The company has also been busy developing new data centers in Asia, located in Singapore, Taiwan and Hong Kong. Experts have suggested that together, the three sites could bring a 30 percent speed boost when they go live later this year.

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