Recently, LinkedIn (NASDAQ:LNKD) announced that it had crossed the 100 million mark in the Asia Pacific region, doubling its member base in two years. India is the second largest market for the company in terms of member base with 37 million members, second to the U.S. and LinkedIn’s largest market in APAC. The company is now working on several initiatives to grow its user base in India and increase user engagement. LinkedIn recently launched a “lite” version of its mobile website to adapt to slower internet speeds in India and other products to reach out to students and younger professionals in the region. It is also launching a site that adapts to the region’s slow 2G connections , along with products targeting professionals in non-metro areas of the country. These initiatives together should enable the company to expand its user base rapidly, so as to penetrate deeper into India. With 40% of the world’s working professionals living in Asia Pacific, LinkedIn has a huge growth potential in the region and its strategy to target a larger user base in India should drive revenues in the longer term.
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Targeting Non-Metro Areas In India
Tier II and Tier III cities in India are set to grow in the next phase of economic boom and a recent report identified 20 such non-metro cities that should witness significant growth in the next few years. While the infrastructure in these cities is being upgraded, LinkedIn’s initiative to launch a lite version of its mobile website can enable faster penetration in these areas. Slow connectivity is a common complaint in India and with players such as Facebook already having “lite” versions of their platforms, LinkedIn’s move should enable better adaption of its platform. This version reduces data usage significantly, saving users of high mobile data usage costs. The company also launched LinkedIn Placements, a product aimed at campus students to find the right job opportunities. Another product launched in India, the “LinkedIn Starter Pack”, is aimed at start ups and small- and medium-sized businesses. These companies will be offered a single package for recruitment solutions, networking and marketing their products.
India is a “mobile first” economy and, with rapid growth in smartphones in the region, a version of the website which can be easily opened on mobile devices and used without heavy data charges can enable faster adoption. Soon to become a Microsoft company, LinkedIn is ensuring that slow internet connections and high data charges do not impact its usage in India. The new products launched in the region can attract more diverse professionals and students to its platform, increasing its user base rapidly. We believe Asia Pacific and especially India offer strong growth potential for LinkedIn and its initiatives to attract users and improve engagement in the region should drive revenues for the company over the long term.
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