Facebook is taking aim at one of the only regions where Google’s Orkut is competitive: Latin America. The company has hired Google (NSDQ: GOOG) Latin America managing director Alexandre Hohagen as its vice president of sales for the region and tells us he will “help local and regional brands execute marketing campaigns with Facebook that will impact their businesses in meaningful ways.” Notably, a local media report states that Hohagen will be based out of a new office Facebook is opening in Brazil, where Orkut is still the dominant social network.
Orkut has 29 million users in Brazil, while Facebook has 9 million, according to an October comScore report. Facebook, however, is quickly cutting into that lead. It had only 1.5 million users in Brazil in October 2009. Overall, Orkut is the third most popular social network in the region after Facebook and Windows Live.
Hohagen’s hiring — which was reported earlier today by the NYTimes — comes as Facebook has talked specifically about improving its position in markets where it is not number one. Last summer, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the company could potentially grow its user-base to a staggering one billion if those efforts were successful.