New MD for Asia hired in Singapore, team to be built to address opportunities
Key geographies include Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand
WITH smartphone adoption, mobile ad impression and mobile broadband penetration on the rise, Opera Mediaworks plans to expand in the fast-growing Asia Pacific region.
Smartphone adoption rates across 29 Asia Pacific countries spiked from 48% to reach 60% in 2014, according to data gathered from users of the Opera Mini browser, Opera Mediaworks said in a statement.
Throughout 2014, the region’s impression market share continued to grow and it finished the fourth quarter at 26.1%, nearly triple the 10% it had three years ago.
Asia had already overtaken Europe to become the second-highest generator of mobile ad impressions on the Opera Mediaworks mobile ad platform at the end of 2013.
Mobile broadband adoption has been consistently rising in the Asia Pacific region as consumers upgrade to better phones, WiFi is rolled out on a large scale, and carriers move to 3G and 4G (Third and Fourth Generation) networks.
In 2015, the number of broadband connections in Asia is expected to reach 1.1 billion, according to research from the GSMA, the San Mateo, California-headquartered company said in its statement.
Opera Mediaworks’ expansion will focus on key geographies such as India, Indonesia, South Korea, Australia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Thailand. Opera Mediaworks’ Asia operations will be run out of parent company Opera Software’s Singapore office.
Opera Software is the Oslo, Norway-based company behind the independent Opera series of browsers.
As a key first step, Opera Mediaworks announced the appointment of Vikas Gulati (pic) as managing director in Asia.
He will be responsible for building and scaling revenue and operations, enhancing the platform’s capabilities, and strengthening Opera Mediaworks’ position in the mobile advertising ecosystem in the region, the company said.
Vikas will work closely with his team to drive network growth and relationships with advertisers, premium publishers and developers in the Asia Pacific region, and will be hiring to help Opera Mediaworks reach its business goals.
He was previously vice president at Vserv, a mobile ad exchange, where he built the company’s South-East Asia business, Opera Mediaworks said.
Vikas is based in Singapore and is a post-graduate from the Times School of Marketing (India). He is a regular contributor for Digital Market Asia, Campaign Asia, ClickZasia and other industry media titles.
Video, targeting and m-commerce
Internet surfing behaviour among Asia Pacific users reveal that social, entertainment, and video sites continue to drive the majority of mobile Internet traffic, Opera Mediaworks said.
In India, ad impressions from social sites and apps is 31.1%, followed by 21.4% from the Music, Video & Media category. In Indonesia, ad impressions from social sites and apps is 61%, followed by 17.6% from Music, Video & Media sites and apps.
“We see huge opportunities in mobile video adoption and, in turn, mobile-video advertising in the Asia Pacific region,” Vikas said.
“We also see other trends in Asia Pacific – the adoption of better audience targeting, and big retailers and e-commerce sites such as Flipkart and Snapdeal strengthening their focus in m-commerce as consumers get more comfortable making purchases on their mobile devices,” he added.
With Opera’s owned-and-operated inventory on 350 million Opera browser users, the company said it has distinctly valuable insights into audience preferences and profiles.
A majority of Opera’s mobile browser users come from Asia, with the recent announcement of the Opera Mini browser reaching 50 million users in India and 30 million users in Indonesia. Half of them are using smartphone devices.
Opera also rolled out Sponsored Web Pass earlier this year, which it claimed brings easy-to-understand, zero-risk mobile Internet packages to consumers around the world. It allows brands and advertisers to sponsor the cost of the customer’s mobile Internet access, providing users free mobile data.
In November 2014, Berniaga.com (now acquired by OLX) announced it will offer three million hours of free Internet access in Indonesia through Sponsored Web Pass to Telkomsel subscribers.
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