The R&D centre will be the first of its type outside of the States, and the ZipDial team will form the basis for the new project.
The Banaglore-based startup has made its name allowing social media access to Indian consumers no matter how basic their device. The mobile marketing company sends live social feeds to users via SMS after they dial a specific number. Twitter is looking to use this opportunity to focus on building a wider following in India as well as in other developing markets, such as Brazil and Indonesia.
“Twitter wants engineering teams based in emerging markets because we have empathy for users in these markets. This isn’t a case of ideas from San Francisco, being built here; we are going to have full control over products,” ZipDial founder Valerie Wagoner told the FT.
According to figures released by the market research group eMarketer, Japan currently leads the Asia Pacific region with 26 million Twitter users, followed by India which has a Twitter population of 22.2 million. Last year, it had been predicted that Indian Twitter users would number 18.1 million by 2014.
In 2015, eMarketer has forecast that Twitter audiences will grow at 30.4 per cent. However, the research firm explained that “the Twitter population in India represents a much smaller share of social network users in the country, at 17.0%, and just 8.8% of internet users.”
“The relatively low internet penetration rate in Asia-Pacific’s second-largest country means that overall, just 1.8% of the population uses Twitter,” it added.
The social media giant is also looking to boost its stake in India with a partnership with one of the country’s leading private sector banks, ICICI. Last week the bank launched a service called ‘icicibankpay’ which allows customers to transfer funds over Twitter.