Twitter Taps Emerging Markets With India R&D Center

by CXOtoday News Desk    Feb 05, 2015

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Twitter seemed to be getting bullish on the Indian market. The micro-blogging company is reportedly setting up a new R&D center in Bangalore. A Financial Times report states that this will be the company’s first ever facility outside US, where the social media major is headquartered. The move, according to the newspaper is part of wider moves to accelerate growth in major emerging markets.

Emerging markets like India, Brazil and Indonesia are said to be the key to Twitter’s growth, according to a report by market research firm eMarketer. Last year, the research firm had forecast that India will have 18.1 million Twitter users by 2014. It also expets Twitter’s user base to grow at 30.4 percent. However, the recent report reveals that the Twitter population in India represents a much smaller share of social network users in the country, at 17 percent. eMarketer said the that low internet penetration rate in the country means that overall, just 1.8 percent of the population uses Twitter, which will barely budge reaching only 3 percent by 2018.

Analysts believe Twitter needs to tap into the vibrant market like India in order to boost its growth and profit, considering that the company is under pressure and growth has slowed globally despite having around 284 million monthly active users in Q3 2014.

Twitter is reportedly working towards boosting its business and revenues in India by partnering with India’s largest private sector bank and acquiring a Bangalore-based mobile marketing start up. In January,  Twitter announced its acquisition of Bangalore-based mobile marketing and analytics startup ZipDial, whose platform allows businesses to connect with people who have mobile phones, but who may not have access to Internet because data plans in those countries are too expensive. The relevant feeds come as SMS’ to users based on their giving a missed call to a designated number.

It was also reported that Twitter is partnering with one of India’s largest private sector banks to strengthen its platform, especially on mobile devices, and connect brands with customers.

As far as the new R&D facility is concerned, Twitter plans to use mobile marketing and analytics company ZipDial Mobile Solutions’ team to build this facility.

A Livemint report further states that Twitter plans to use India as a base to develop some of the new technologies for media and analytics capabilities that it plans to create as a part of its research at the Laboratory for Social Machines (LSM), the creation of which it announced with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Media Lab in October.

Analysts believe that the micro-blogging site is now emulating what Facebook is striving to do; that is, pay more attention to developing nations, which means making itself more accessible to people in emerging nations, without smartphones, or those having very little mobile data each month. For instance, recently, Facebook announced that the growing Internet penetration and a large youth population has helped it expand its user base in India to 112 million - which is the largest after the US. Of the 112 million users in India, more than 99 million utilise the platform on their mobile phones at least once a month. About 45 million users in India are using their mobile phones every day to connect with their friends on Facebook.