Norwegian browser company Opera Software claims that its Opera Mini browser now has over 50 million monthly active users in India. India is the largest market for Opera Mini which claims to have 270 million unique mobile users globally, which includes Opera Mobile users.
The number of Opera Mini users in India is expected to increase further as Microsoft, which had acquired and renamed Nokia’s devices & services business to Microsoft Mobile, has decided to migrate all users of the Nokia Xpress web browser to Opera Mini. Opera’s CEO Lars Boilesen told The Wall Street Journal that there are about 100 million Nokia handset users globally, of which 25% are in India, and these users will shortly migrate to the Opera Mini browser. He added that Opera Mini is expected to become the default browser on Microsoft’s Asha series of phones.
Earlier this year, the company’s State of the Android Mobile Web report revealed that 47% of Opera Mini users in India are now on smartphones. While Java-based devices still account for the largest user base of Opera Mini, accounting for 45% of Opera Mini users, there is a shift happening to Android devices which now accounts for 44% of Opera Mini users.
Opera Mini is known for compressing webpages which results in lower data usage and faster page load times. Opera had partnered Tata DOCOMO to offer a co-branded version of its mobile browser Opera Mini to Tata DOCOMO subscribers in India, in May last year. It has similar partnerships with Airtel, Idea, MTS India, and Vodafone India.
Competition: Opera faces significant competition from China-based mobile Internet and Software services company UCWeb that offers UC Browser. UC Web, acquired in June by China’s e-commerce major Alibaba, has a market share of 37.46% (as of October 2014) in India as compared to Opera Mini’s 23.8%, according to the web analytics firm StatCounter. Nokia Xpress web browser has a market share of 8.9%. UC Web set up its second headquarters in India in April last year, and said that it had plans of investing $170 million in expanding its global operations, majority of which was expected to be deployed in India.