The way social networking has grown, it has reached to a level when users are often faces challenge on staying regularly updated on
their online social networking outreach. As an estimate an average urban online user has to maintain four different online social
By looking at this situation, there has been a need to consolidate this social networking activity and one of the smartest way of
managing these social networking accounts is through Nimbuzz, that combines instant messaging, (geo) presence and VoIP across
popular communities including Skype, Windows Live Messenger, Yahoo! Messenger, ICQ, GoogleTalk, AIM, and social networks including
Facebook, Orkut and MySpace.
TA. How is Nimbuzz’s so far experience in India? What drives its growth?
VS. There is a huge potential in the Indian market for mobile based consumer internet products. We have registered significant growth over the past twelve months. Online social networking is very popular among Indian Internet users. In fact they have grown from one level to another, which is a motivating fact for the adoption of our product.
Our user base has grown multifold, with 1000% in India alone, since our launch in May 2008.
The Nimbuzz application is free to download. Users can download the application on mobile, web and PC, for instant messaging, location sharing, (group) calling, file sharing and chat rooms.
The biggest driver of our market growth is the fact that Nimbuzz application brings the true power of mobility while consolidating
the social networking activity of the user. The Nimbuzz application acts as a single window that manages and handles the entire
social networking activity, so the user will have his or her Orkut friends, Facebook friends, Gtalk friends and etc all available in one
contact list. It’s an always on communication medium – may it be chatting or voice calling and so on, an attractive fact for our handset and operator partners.
TA. Nimbuzz is a Netherlands based company which is doing business activity across the world. What is India’s position in overall business landscape of Nimbuzz?
VS. Yes, we are based out of Rotterdam, Netherlands and have business operations in Latin America, US, Russia and India. Having said this, India is one of the most vibrant business centers for Nimbuzz overall business. In India we have been growing in leaps and bounds over the last one year.
TA. In India, what is the go-to-market strategy? What are your revenue models for the Indian Market?
VS. Using our platform, operators can deliver community to their user base. In this regard we can tie all their customers together without any overhead or time investments from the operator. Because Nimbuzz needs a data connection to work, everything happens over the operator pipeline – calls, IM, messages, file sharing etc- which ultimately encourages the use and therefore sale of data.
The word ‘Nimbuzz’ means ‘halo’ which is an optical phenomenon produced by ice crystals creating colored or white arcs and spots in the sky. Nimbuzz was founded in 2007, and entered India in May 2008. Since then Nimbuzz has registered a successful market journey. Although new, but witnessing huge uptake from the market, Vikas Saxena, Country Head, Nimbuzz exclusively interacted with THINKING ALOUD and unleashed his company’s ‘so far’ experience in India, challenges in Indian market, the local language factor and much more.
We also have revenue sharing operator and handset manufacturer partnership deals starting this year with Toshiba, Spice Mobiles, Micromax Mobile, RIM and Tata Indicom where Nimbuzz application is pre-installed on their devices.
Mobile advertising is another revenue stream that has contributed in our business growth. We are experimenting with the best solution focused around opt-in for the user and brand engagement for the advertiser.
In addition, as we introduce more services we may decide to supplement our offering with premium services for those users who would like to pay, alongside our core offering will always remain free.
TA. Mobile Internet is still at a growing stage in India. What all challenges do you witness in this area?
VS. The biggest challenges I see in the space of mobile Internet is the local language aspect and the high cost of Internet on Mobile. I believe that these two areas need special attention and a proper solution is required in these directions. Apart from these two I also see the terminal or hardware cost is still acting as a barrier for further growth on mobile Internet in India.
TA. According to you what could be a solution for these problems?
VS. From the affordability of mobile internet standpoint, service providers have already started looking at this problem. But to tackle the local language issue, a complete mindshare shift is required. The shift should happen from the user community to drive the adoption of local language content on mobile. Having said this, the local language should also be looked at getting promoted at the mobile hardware level. So, in that direction, I feel that touch screen mobile handsets makes a lot of sense. Thirdly, the cost of a mobile handset with GPRS functionality should be made little more affordable.
TA. According to you, what are the trends that are crucial for this market?
VS. One of the most interesting trend that is getting visible these days is the advent of mobile applications stores. I feel that Indian mobile applications market will definitely get a boost from this trend.
TA. What is your outlook towards VoIP in India?
VS. VoIP is a much regulated industry and we believe that it will open up in time to come. But there are certain pieces which are legally allowed and Nimbuzz will focus on those areas. As a market fact, there is a great demand for cost effective international calling. So VoIP could be a boon for such market demands.
TA. How is 3G going to impact mobile app adoption in India?
VS. 3G will definitely going to push the market for mobile internet. Once the 3G regime comes in, users will get to see a wide spectrum of mobile services and mobile internet will be at the front row in user adoption.
Being a company in mobile internet domain, I can clearly make out that nothing could be better for us if 3G could come in the picture. Having said this, a lot of customer education is required. Which will in turn make them aware of applications like Nimbuzz.