Twitter Inc. and Indian startup ZipDial Mobile Solutions already work together, but they may be looking to get closer, as the microblogging platform provider seeks to reduce its dependence on the U.S. market, TechCrunch reported Tuesday.
A deal in the range of $30 million to $40 million was being talked about, TechCrunch reported, without naming sources, adding that a second buyer may also have shown interest in ZipDial.
ZipDial’s co-founder and chairman Sanjay Swamy couldn’t be reached on his mobile phone. A mail to the company remained unanswered at the time of publishing, as did a query sent to Twitter. TechCrunch in its post said Twitter declined to comment.
India, the most populous country in the world after China, also has one of the largest Internet user bases, which is rapidly growing. The country is the Asia Pacific region’s fastest growing smartphone market that could also soon see the nationwide expansion of 4G networks.
All of this has made the market increasingly attractive to both traditional technology companies such as Microsoft Corp., looking to offer cloud computing to Indian business customers, and Internet giants such as Facebook Inc. and Twitter. Much of India’s smartphone base is on Google Inc.’s Android software.
Still, only one in three handsets in India is a smartphone, and ZipDial has a service that can reach even users of basic handsets, with missed calls: People call phone numbers that are advertised in marketing campaigns -- for a pizza discount coupon or a contest with an attractive prize -- then disconnect to get text messages back, or even Twitter streams sponsored by businesses.
From marketing campaigns to political messages, the model has found much traction, as feature phones or basic handsets still dominate the Indian mobile landscape, and the service is provided at no financial cost to the end user. And, as the proportion of smartphones to regular phones rises, the possibilities are only set to increase.