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Asia smartphones treble in 3 years

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With smartphone adoption, mobile ad impression and mobile broadband penetration on the rise, Opera Mediaworks has announced its plans to expand in the fast-growing Asia Pacific region.

Asia, an emerging market in mobile advertising

Smartphone adoption rates across 29 APAC countries have spiked from 48% to reach 60% in 2014, according to data gathered from users of the Opera Mini browser. Throughout 2014, the region’s impression market share continued to grow and it finished the fourth quarter at 26.1% ‚Äî nearly triple the 10% it had three years ago. Asia overtook 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, Wi-Fi is rolled out on a large scale and carriers move to 3G and 4G networks. In 2015, the number of broadband connections in Asia is expected to reach 1.1 billion, according to research from the GSMA.

Opera Mediaworks expands to Asia Pacific

Opera Mediaworks’ expansion will focus on key geographies such as India, Indonesia, South Korea, Australia, Malaysia, Philippines, Vietnam and Thailand. Opera Mediaworks’ Asia operations will be run out of parent company Opera Software’s Singapore office.

As a key first step, the company announced the hire of Vikas Gulati as Managing Director in Asia. Gulati 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.

Gulati will work closely with his team to drive network growth and relationships with advertisers, premium publishers and developers in the Asia Pacific region. Gulati plans to hire key talent to help Opera Mediaworks reach its business goals.

Gulati was previously Vice President at Vserv, a mobile ad exchange, where he built the company’s South East Asia business.

Video, targeting and m-commerce are clear opportunities

Internet surfing behavior among APAC users revealed that social, entertainment, and video sites continue to drive the majority of mobile internet traffic. 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,” says Gulati. “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.

Leveraging existing presence in Asia

With Opera’s owned-and-operated inventory on 350 million Opera browser users, the company 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 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 3 million hours of free internet in Indonesia through Sponsored Web Pass to Telkomsel subscribers.

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