Twitter is looking to expand its relationship with Indian startup ZipDial Mobile Solutions with an acquisition deal in the range of $30mn to $40mn (approx. £20mn to £26mn), according to recent reports.
As the second most populated country in the world after China, India has one of the biggest online audiences globally. The country is also home to the Asia Pacific region’s most rapidly growing smartphone market, with the majority using Google’s Android platforms.
This has made India an extremely promising market for tech companies such as Microsoft, wanting to promote cloud services to enterprise customers, as well as big online players such as Facebook and Twitter.
Despite this growth in the smartphone arena, two out of three mobile phones in India are still basic handsets. ZipDial is able to reach these non-smartphone users via missed calls. People are able to dial numbers contained in advertising material and receive a text message with a discount or voucher, for example.
The app, which was founded in 2010 by tech entrepreneurs Valerie Rozycki Wagoner, Sanjay Swamy and Amiya Pathak, already counts Procter & Gamble, Coca-Cola, Unilever, Pepsi and Nestle among its customers base and has seen great success particularly for marketing campaigns and political messages.
ZipDial has previously worked with Twitter in a 2013 partnership with Twitter India to allow feature phone users to follow celebrities by giving a missed call and receiving updates, and tweeting via SMS.
CEO Wagoner and Swamy have both denied any news of talks with Twitter. “There is no deal done. I cannot comment on anything,” said Wagoner.
Sources had suggested that Twitter had not been the only interested party, with a second buyer also keen on acquiring the mobile startup. Both Facebook and Yahoo! have made Indian acquisitions, and a successful deal with ZipDeal would be a first in the country for Twitter.