It’s not about going local or global, it's a bit of both together – GLOCAL
Most developers across geographies always face this dilemma of going after global or local issues to solve. Many investors, advisors and entrepreneurs have voiced their individual opinions but there isn’t a single advice one can blindly follow.
Whenever someone talks about successful execution of localization, its Newshunt that comes to my mind first. Think of Newshunt, the most downloaded content app on Playstore in India, they have acquired enormous regional users in a country like India where not many were giving importance to regional content. Started off with the mission to empower the country to celebrate and read content in its own language, Newshunt today has a long way with more than 36 million installs and over a billion monthly page views across the country. There was a gap in the local market and Newshunt has filled this avid taste of Indians with regards to content ingesting.
Speaking about the potential of local markets, Virendra Gupta, CEO, Newshunt shared,
The Top Seven newspapers in India are non-English. India has only 10% English literacy. There is a huge regional market that still needs to be addressed.
Newshunt is a great case study of winning the local markets but then expanding horizons with regional languages isn’t enough to win in localization. There are more parameters one needs to integrate in their apps to make their apps locally acceptable.Read more : How this app scaled to an user-base of over 100 million in 2 years?
For a long time, there was a vacuum on Playstore for games made to address the Indian cultural aspects rather than users adopting themselves to the western trends. Also with increasing penetration of smartphones in India and also the easy availability of them, brought a smartphone in hands of many across the country. Many first time smartphone users were not exposed to the western customs and so there was a need to create content/games for this audience. What Octro has done the best is built games for audience across the country and it capitalized on the network as well as social effects to make their games viral. If your friend plays Teen Patti and he challenges you, you can’t escape the challenge and would download the game to compete. Also most of these games had a social angle to them, scores being share on Facebook (remember most of these users are also new to the whole social network and for them these scores being shared on such platform is also a matter of pride).
Virendra Gupta, Saurabh Aggarwal, Damandeep Soni, Kari Krisnamurthy were part of the 'Apponomics of today & tomorrow' Panel at TechSparks Grand Finale 2014.
Will you expect your grandparents or even your parents to play a 2048 or a Teen Patti? The answer would clear your doubts that are making these Indian games go viral. The perfect audience for these games has been first time smartphone users who have not even see PC games and have played a lot of card games in their childhood days. This is a different example of how Octro has built a successful game apps company from India, you find the gap in the market and build solutions that the local markets would adapt to. This is an example for most developers proving that localization isn’t mere usage of local languages.
You can’t go global until you have acquired local audiences in different geographies
shared Saurabh Aggarwal, founder and CEO – Octro games. The team has understood the Indian market well to keep building more and more games that the audience would love to play here in India. They have built a culture synergy here to attract new and old users. They would keep doing this and expand this to other geographies in its quest to go global.
One underlined fact from both these examples is to go global one need to cater the local audience and keep doing that until you haven’t addressed the entire audience available globally.
How difficult would it have been for a Swedish company to its 50% user base India? Yes, almost 50% of Truecaller’s global user base is based in India. That been one of the reasons for Sequoia India to invest and bet on this startup’s growth. Did Truecaller change their product to adapt to Indian markets? No they din't have special features embedded but they marketed it well here. Also, India being the latest entrant in this smartphone revolution, it was a new and untapped market for a solution like Truecaller.
We tweak few features here and there to adopt the local cultural customs and trends to acquire users locally
states Damandeep Soni, Line India. Coming from a different geography and trending in Indian Playstore is quite a feat that needs to be applauded and learnt from. What Line does is offer stickers and few other features for the local markets to make them feel comfortable with the app. They have also released many other apps on Playstore other than their famous Line messenger. The teens have been great early adopters for this messenger in India and also globally. The surge of messaging apps has be a global phenomenon but more prominently noticed in the South East Asian markets.
Another interesting app that is doing good with localization is Viber with its stickers. They have been giving out free stickers specially made for Diwali and other festivals that make Indian users feel special and attract towards using the app more. You have free stickers, you would definitely send them to your loved ones and greet them ‘Happy Diwali’. But the conversations wouldn't stop here right? This is a good example of how these global apps are increasing their user retention.
To all those budding developers in quest to build the next big thing, there is nothing like building to go global or local it's always a bit of both – glocal. You always would need to cater a localized human trait and keep expanding this across horizontally to be global.