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hi5 Offers Mobile Social Networking In 26 Languages

The social networking site's hi5 Mobile service is aimed at smartphone and PDA users worldwide.
Social networking site hi5 Networks has launched a global service for mobile device users.

The San Francisco-based company said Tuesday that the service, hi5 Mobile, is now available for mobile phones and other portable devices in 26 languages.

The service is optimized for devices from several manufacturers, including Apple, RIM, Nokia, Motorola, LG, Samsung, and Sony Ericsson. hi5 members around the world can now exchange messages and status updates, view each others' profiles, add friends, share photos, and find out who is online, using their mobile phones.

"Mobile use represents a huge opportunity for social networking and this functionality is particularly relevant to hi5's international user base, who are more advanced than their U.S. counterparts in terms of mobile device usage," said Ramu Yalamanchi, CEO of hi5, in a statement. "We are providing the tools for users to connect and share information with their hi5 network from almost anywhere in the world. In addition, as we see the number of users accessing hi5 via their mobile phones increase, it will open up the opportunity to roll out hyper-localized advertising."

hi5 Networks said that the move will help it capitalize on the dramatic growth of the mobile Internet market.

IDC estimates that the number of mobile Internet users around the world will reach 546 million this year. That's nearly double the number of users in 2006. The number of mobile Internet users worldwide is expected to exceed 1.5 billion by 2012.

hi5 has also seen rapid growth. The company counts more than 56 million unique visitors each month. That's double its user base from last year.