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Zuckerberg Says Facebook Will Overtake Local Rivals

Zuckerberg walking on his way from a cafe to a hotel on Tverskaya Ulitsa. Ivan Burnyashev

Students at Moscow State University packed an auditorium Tuesday night for a speech by Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg, who told them that his company's social network will overtake its local competitors.

Speaking at the Russian equivalent of Harvard, considered by some to be the most prestigious university in the country, the Facebook co-founder and Harvard dropout predicted that Russians will ultimately choose Facebook for its ease of use.

Zuckerberg acknowledged that he is facing an uphill climb.

"It isn't going to happen in one day," he said, RIA-Novosti reported.

Currently, Russian social-networking website Vkontakte has nearly 140 million registered users, while Facebook has only about 7 million users here, according to social-media research firm Socialbakers.

The third day of Zuckerberg's Russian trip also included a visit with the management of Internet giant Yandex. Citing an anonymous source, RIA-Novosti reported that he visited the company's office, though Yandex spokesman Ochir Mandzhikov declined to comment Tuesday night.

The day's rounds followed an appearance Monday on late-night talk show "Vecherny Urgant." Host Ivan Urgant joked"that you came here specifically to gather programmers from Russia, put them all on a ship and take them out of here."

Zuckerberg is making his trip to scope out talent, he has said repeatedly.

At the Moscow session of Facebook's World Hack competition on Monday, Zuckerberg said there's an advantage to designing for his company "instead of the local social networks."

With Facebook, "you have the opportunity to reach almost a billion people," Zuckerberg told the programmers.

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