Friendster to Name New CEO

Pull Friendster out of the dumpster.

The social networking site overshadowed in the U.S. by Facebook Inc. and plans to name Richard Kimber its new chief executive.

Kimber was the regional managing director of Google in South Asia, where Friendster has witnessed a recent surge of visitors. A new $20 million investment round, led by the venture capital group IDG Ventures, aims to solidify Friendster's standing in the region.

Friendster's investment in Asia, with a strong presence in the Philippines and Singapore, has made it the region's top social networking site, outside of China, according to reports.

The firm grew from 45 million users in 2007 to 75 million this year, according to the Wall Street Journal, and more than 55 million of its users come from Asia.

"Friendster is growing at an enormous rate in Asia-Pacific and is clearly leading the competition," said Kimber in a statement published by CNET News. "I believe this is partly because the Internet is transforming the lives of everyone, and it will probably become one of the greatest liberators of our time. I look forward to growing our business further, as we continue our global growth and strong focus on Asia."

The San Francisco-based company has seen its dominance curtailed by Facebook and in recent years as technical problems and management shortfalls have stalled its progress.

But Friendster's steady expansion in Asia, including the translation of the site into several Asian languages, has recently seen it attract twice as many users as any other social networking site in the region – 33 million unique visitors per month.

Kimber will take over for Kent Lindstrom, who was the company's chief executive since 2006.

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