Two weeks ago, for the first time since August, our team has packed the bags to take a flight far outside Russia, to the Indian «silicon valley» — Bangalore. Sightseeing was only a little part of the plan, but the main goal remained the same: to take part in Global Mobile Internet Conference. Despite having «Global» in the name, the event was less massive. The majority of attendees mainly consisted of well-known players in the Asian market. Just a couple of new names, a few app developers and a vast range of affiliate networks were to be found near 45 exhibition stands.
India vs China
Only a lazy didn't speak about the rivalry between Chinese and Indian mobile markets at the GMIC. More and more companies, wishing to get a piece of the pie, are being attracted by the rapidly increasing number of mobile devices and purchases made via mobile in these countries. And, what's making the competition more interesting, the heavy growth of Indian mobile market is being triggered by the huge amount of Chinese apps actively invading into Indian user's smartphones.
Anyway, according to numerous brochures, Indian market is expected to become the only one steadily growing in the following years. However, Chinese market is still much bigger. Let's have a look at the data given by the Alibaba Group's speaker during his presentation in order to prove this point. According to Mr. Kenny Ye, Alibaba Group has earned $60 billion during «Black Friday» via AliExpress app only in China while all e-commerce apps in India conducted only 15 million transactions in total over the same time. But these numbers speak for themselves: Indian mobile market can not be underestimated.
The quality of IT-education also became part of the competition. The case is that in recent years people of Indian descent have held key positions in the biggest corporations like Google or Microsoft. And it also contributes to the potential of Indian mobile market.
Indian Mobile Market: Is It Special?
Indian customers usually don't install mobile apps on their smartphones due to their big size. All because of this, progressive web apps have gained much more popularity in India. PWA is essentially an icon not a mobile app. By clicking on it, the user hits directly to the website to make the purchase. This solution helps to save both time spent on the development and a free space on user's smartphone. Although the majority of Indian customers are happy with that, foreign companies have to bend with the wind to enter the market because an average Indian user spends 62 minutes in PWA and only 44 minutes — in mobile apps.
A bright example of Flipkart's experience has been given by Samsung representatives. Initially, the service refused to make a website for India, having centered all hopes on its mobile app. But, later, Flipkart admitted the mistake which led to poor financial results in the region and developed its own website and PWA.
Facebook to show the new instrument for app developers.
Along with the traditional speech about the increasing importance of video ads, Facebook representatives showed their brand new account-kit for app developers. Facebook never leaves the hope to collect all the user's possible data and this seems to be another step. Signing up in mobile app while using the form provided by the account-kit, the user sends his/her phone number and email both to SNS and the developer. Then, to send the email or SMS notification the developer must use the new platform made by Facebook. According to the presentation, the new solution will save the developers a lot of money while collecting users data and sending notifications. Only time will tell whether this solution will be in demand or not.
Though the living standards in Bangalore are comparably high, even here it is impossible not to notice the gap between richness and poverty. Crazy traffic jam, mainly consisting of rickshaw pullers, was whirring just behind the five star hotel's fence where the conference took place. At the same time, a few poor people were begging near the Royal Palace's entrance while inside 50 thousand guests were celebrating a wedding worth $80 million.
However, this local flavor and the hot weather couldn't bring our working attitude down. We have held a lot of meetings with our current and potential partners, have strengthened old relationships and signed several new agreements. Our trip to the GMIC Bangalore 2016 turned out to be really interesting and useful, and we'll be happy to go there again.