Twitter goes Lite in push for growth in emerging markets

Twitter is doubling down on its efforts to boost user numbers by expanding the availability of its lightweight Android app to more markets.

By way of a quick recap, Twitter introduced a Lite version of its service back in April and made it available on any mobile browser. It then rolled out a native Android incarnation of the app in the Philippines a few months later. Today, Twitter Lite is arriving in 24 more markets across Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. These new markets are: Algeria, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Israel, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Malaysia, Nigeria, Nepal, Panama, Peru, Serbia, South Africa, Tanzania, Thailand, Tunisia, and Venezuela.

Twitter has struggled to grow its user base, revealing a modest 4 percent year-on-year (YoY) rise during its last earnings report. (It now claims 330 million monthly users globally.) Emerging markets could prove key to its continued growth, but restrictive or expensive data plans — or limited space on a device — could preclude users from spending much time on the social network. And that’s where Twitter Lite comes into play, with its faster loading times and optimized data consumption and a built-in “data saver” mode to ensure only select images or videos are downloaded.

The company said that tweets sent from Twitter Lite have grown by more than 50 percent since it was first debuted in April, though that doesn’t really give us a clear indication of its overall pickup.

Twitter is the latest in a long line of tech firms that have embraced lightweight versions of their core apps. Facebook launched a Lite incarnation of its core service back in 2015, followed by Messenger Lite a year later. Elsewhere, Shazam launched a stripped-down version of its music-recognition app last year, while Japan’s Line has also introduced a mobile data-friendly app.



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