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BW Businessworld

‘Data Behaviour Changing In India’

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You have worked at Lego. How has that experience helped you in building blocks for Opera?
The experience is relevant because Lego is a technology company. A lot of engineers at Opera respect me because I have worked at Lego. Both are quality companies with a focus on innovation. They are not very different from each other. 
 
We are celebrating 50 million users in India,  now the biggest market for Opera. We invited bloggers and some of our early users. I used that opportunity to talk to them and some of them had really good ideas. I have invited them to Oslo. The idea is to have them interact with the product development team.
 
The focus now is on mobility. Has this given the returns you expected? What more can we expect in mobility? 
India is mainly a mobile market. You have an entire generation here that got connected to the Internet via the Opera mini browser on the mobile phone, instead of the personal computer. They got their first Facebook account on the mobile phone. That means the mobile platform is what will take them forward. We notice that data behaviour on the operating networks is changing in India. Earlier, people here preferred text-based stuff, then they shifted from text to multimedia, and now to rich media. We want to adjust our browser to the new behaviour trends that we are seeing. 
 
How do you monetise Opera across platforms?
Google pays us for being there, so does OLX. We drive traffic to these brands, and they make money on our traffic. We get a cut — a revenue share — on that. Also, when you do a search on Google, it makes money, and, in turn, pay us. We make money by  driving traffic. In India, we make money from operators on content. Right now, we are investing much more money than we are making here. We believe in the future of India, the future for Opera.
 
What’s your immediate target for Opera in India and globally?
At present, our target is to get 100 million users here. There’s a very good reason why we can achieve that. Nokia has been quite big here. There are about 100 million Nokia browser users. Microsoft, which acquired Nokia, has decided to focus only on Windows. It has been looking for someone who could prolong the life of the browser users on Nokia feature phones. We have agreed to step in, and Nokia browser users will switch to Opera. If we do that successfully, there are 25 million Nokia users. If we make a smart transition, we can easily get to 70 million users here. That will make us the third-largest app in India, after Facebook and WhatsApp.  
 
(This story was published in BW | Businessworld Issue Dated 12-01-2015)