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Wikipedia to open first office outside US in India

Wikimedia, the owners of online encyclopedia Wikipedia, plans to open its first non-US office in India as it seeks to take advantage of the country’s open Internet culture.

“There is a lot of enthusiasm for Wikimedia in India, a strong community within India and a general commitment to free knowledge,” Wikimedia chief global development officer Barry Newstead said in emailed comments.

“We hope to support Indians to realise the vision of ‘a world in which every single person can freely share in the sum of all knowledge’.”

The planned investment in India would be the first time the non-profit group, whose user-generated encyclopedia is one of the biggest online brands, has opened an office outside of its home US market.

The company is currently looking for a location but is expected to open the office in the next few months.

Wikimedia co-founder Jimmy Wales will be in India’s commercial capital Mumbai on Sunday and will address an open meeting where he will give further details of the group’s strategy for the country.

He told Indian technology website ciol.com this week that the office would initially have two to four people who work with Indian contributors, helping with technical support, software and promotion.

Since its creation in 2001, the site has grown rapidly and attracted nearly 78 million visitors monthly as of January 2010, Wikipedia says on its website.

There are more than 91,000 active contributors working on more than 16 million articles in more than 270 languages. – AFP

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