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Twitter launches 'Lite' version for India

April 06, 2017 13:51 IST

It will be available in 42 languages, including six Indian languages - Hindi, Bengali, Tamil, Kannada, Gujarati and Marathi.

Twitter on Thursday launched a lighter version of its platform -- Twitter Lite -- in India, which is among its top five audience markets globally.

The browser-based product, which will also be rolled out in countries like Indonesia and Philippines soon, uses 70 per cent less data and loads 30 per cent faster compared to the app.

It will be available in 42 languages, including six Indian languages (Hindi, Bengali, Tamil, Kannada, Gujarati and Marathi).

"India is a critical market for us. It is among our top five audience markets and among the fastest growing. Our goal is to make Twitter available to everybody and we believe Twitter Lite will help in that direction," Twitter managing director Asia Pacific Maya Hari told PTI.

Twitter has over 319 million users globally. It does not give out country-specific numbers.

Last year, the social networking firm saw a slew of top-level exits, including that of India head Rishi Jaitly and managing director for India, Southeast Asia and Middle East and North Africa region (MENA) Parminder Singh.

"We have a stable leadership team. We did see a number of departures last year but that hasn't changed the core strategy of the business," she said.

Hari added that Twitter is growing and hiring in India, which is a "signal of how things are and that we are doing well".

She said the company is focusing on four pillars -- sports, entertainment, government and news -- for growth.

"We have had a strong revenue focus for the last two years, and have seen significant growth. We are focusing on areas like government, automotive, telecom and FMCG for driving revenues in India," Hari said.

Twitter, which allows users to engage with peers, corporates and government using 140 characters, is also betting heavily on visual content like emojis and videos.

"For 2017, the strategy is heavily anchored around being able to connect consumers who love videos and advertisers who can bring video content, associate themselves with premium video content," she said.

Talking about Twitter Lite, Twitter APAC senior director, business development, Arvinder Gujral said the new offering is aimed at markets like India that face challenges in terms of connectivity.

"Many users worry about heavy data consumption or don't have high-end smartphones. With Lite, they don't have to worry about huge data costs. We believe Lite will help bring a lot of new users on board," he added.

Twitter has also partnered Vodafone to provide a customised timeline of top cricket related tweets via Twitter Lite to the telecom major's 200 million subscribers throughout the T20 season.

Photograph: Dado Ruvic/Reuters

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