LinkedIn just opened its first Latin American offices in Sao Paulo, the professional network announced today, adding that Brazil will serve as the company’s regional headquarters.

Among LinkedIn’s 135 million members, 14 million are Latin American, out of which 6 million are Brazilian, according to the company. It now hopes its newly launched operations will boost its adoption across the region, which had already increased considerably since the launch of its Portuguese-language version in April 2010, as the company gained 5 million users in Brazil over that period.

From all accounts, Brazil seems to be the Latin American country where LinkedIn wants to grow the most, and it hired the Brazilian Osvaldo Barbosa de Oliveira as its Country Manager for Brazil. A former Microsoft exec, he worked for the Redmond firm for 21 years in the US and Brazil.

As part of its new operations, LinkedIn also created new communication channels in Portuguese, including a Twitter account @linkedinbrasil. Significantly, its blog post to announce today’s launch was mostly written in Portuguese.

However, Brazil is also seen a point of entry into the region when the time comes from the company to fuel its growth in Spanish-speaking countries: “This [launch] is a great first step in the expansion of our presence in Latin America,” Barbosa de Oliveira said.

This announcement is also part of LinkedIn’s international push, as the company recently opened offices in several countries – as we reported, it launched operations in Japan last month.

Thanks to the team he’ll manage, Barbosa de Oliveira hopes than LinkedIn will soon have more members in Brazil than in the UK, he said. At the moment, Brazil is the fourth best represented country on the network, after the US, India and the UK.

Yet, LinkedIn’s strategy is not just about gaining members: from a revenue perspective, getting companies to use the service to hire staff is just as important. Not surprisingly, the company is also using its own services to find the professionals it needs for its Sao Paulo offices; at the time we write, there are 5 job openings at LinkedIn in Brazil, including a Recruiter role.