Opera’s Mobile Browser Is Silently Conquering Asia

Opera’s Mobile Browser Is Silently Conquering Asia

Mar 5, 2013 at 13:19 PM by Anh-Minh Do, in Asia

In the USA, smartphones already dominate 50 percent of the mobile market. In Asia,smartphones now account for 66 percent of purchases but the overwhelming majority of existing mobiles out there are still feature phones. And if you’re on a feature phone, it’s even more likely that you use Opera as your web browser of choice. Out of the top five countries for Opera Mini users in the world, three of them are in Asia.

I chatted with Håkon Wium Lie, chief technology officer at Opera, who gave me the lowdown. To date, over 237 million people all over the world have used Opera. In Asia, Opera has already hit millions of monthly unique users in a handful of countries. According to Håkon:

Indonesia and India hit one million in 2008, China in 2009, and the Philippines, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Malaysia in 2011. Nepal and Thailand just made it on the million-user list last year.

Interestingly, although Asia is feature phone dominated, this is not where the growth is – it’s actually on smartphones. In most countries, Nokia is the main phone that people use Opera on, but in China, Samsung and iPhone mobiles are used the most with the Norway-made mobile browser app. Håkon explains:

While the feature phone is still strong in this region, especially in south east Asia, we see that some countries have experienced a sharp increase in smartphone owners using Opera Mini or Opera Mobile products last year. For example, the number of Opera Mini users in Indonesia on smartphones has increased more than 460 percent in July 2012 since July 2011. Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam are also strong smartphone growth areas in the Asia Pacific region.

Opera’s also focusing on tablets. With the worldwide trend heading towards tablets, this makes sense.

Smartphones and tablets will be the focus for Opera. With more people getting more advanced mobile devices and more data will be consumed, they expect to have a better browser to speed up their browsing while on the go.

Of course, I was really interested to hear about Opera’s main growth markets and even happier to see Myanmar on the list. Håkon adds:

Myanmar has particularly strong growth compared to the larger Asia Pacific countries, with a 900 percent growth in users and 500+ percent growth in pageviews. In addition, the user growth in Bangladesh, Laos, China, Cambodia, and Malaysia is more than 100 percent.

About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (www.heroinnovator.com), the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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