The growth of regional language users on the internet has been tremendous.

The growth of regional language users on the internet has been tremendous.

Anuradha Agarwal first realised the potential of a smartphone when she visited her hometown Jaipur for a break in 2016, and saw the interest in learning English among many of the women members in her Marwari family .Although English didn’t come naturally to many of her relatives, they all had one thing in common – expensive phones.

“I directed them to a few apps but they weren’t comfortable with any,” says Agarwal. So she started a few customised chapters, which soon turned into a Facebook page with over 45,000 followers. And before long, it grew into a venture called MultiBhashi, a mobile platform that helped users learn English from 10 regional languages and vice versa. The app has seen over 95,000 downloads.

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World’s 10 biggest smartphone companies

World’s 10 biggest smartphone companies
Samsung
Apple
Huawei
Oppo
Vivo
Xiaomi
LG
ZTE
Lenovo (includes Motorola)
Alcatel

World’s 10 biggest smartphone companies

Global smartphone market seems to be in the ‘awe’ of Chinese brands. According to Counterpoint’s Market Monitor service, Chinese brands now hold a record 48% smartphone marketshare worldwide. Brands like Xiaomi, Oppo, Vivo and Huawei are making huge inroads outside mainland China. However, at the same time Samsung and Apple too continue to hold their sway over smartphone buyers worldwide and are firmly perched at their positions among the top 5. So, wonder which are the 10 biggest smartphone companies worldwide? Read on to find out …

Samsung

Samsung tops the smartphone market by volume with a market share of 22% in Q2 2017. The company’s smartphone shipments recorded a marginal growth of 4% annually during the quarter. However, the company’s shipments remained almost flat quarter on quarter. Average selling price of Samsung smartphones increased due to strong shipments of Galaxy S8 and S8+ devices. However, shipments of mid-tier A series and low-end J series declined sequentially.

Apple

At No. 2 is Cupertino giant Apple. As per Counterpoint Research, the company holds 11.2% marketshare globally. The company’s share has fallen marginally vis-a-vis the Q2 of the year 2016 when it held 11.3% share. Earlier this week, the company reported its second quarter results where it has seen healthy growth in both iPhone and iPad sales.

Huawei

At No. 3 is Chinese smartphone brand Huawei. The company shipped record second quarter shipments of 38.4 million units, up 20% annually. Emerging markets have played a key role in the company’s growth globally. In China, Huawei retained its top spot during the second quarter, ahead of rivals Oppo and Vivo. The company’s Nova and Enjoy series, along with flagship P10 witnessed strong demand during the quarter in the country. Huawei’s share in the premium segment also expanded due to the strong performance of its Mate and P series.

Oppo

The fourth-largest brand globally is Oppo. The company held 8.4% marketshare globally during the quarter. The brand reported impressive growth in India, its strongest market outside China.

Vivo

Vivo is the fifth-largest brand globally, holding 6.6% marketshare. Just like Oppo, the company too has seen strong growth in the Indian market.

Xiaomi

Xiaomi emerged as the fastest growing brand year-on-year (+60%) surpassing its home-country rivals Vivo (+45%) and Oppo (+33%). The duo were the fastest-growing brands in the previous quarter. Xiaomi shipped 23.2 million smartphones, capturing 6.6% market share of the global smartphone market in Q2 2017. The company’s latest flagship Mi 6 and low-tier models such as Redmi Note 4X have played a strong role in its comeback. The company has also focused on diversifying its distribution channel mix in both China and India, two of its biggest markets.

LG

At No. 7 is South Korean smartphone brand LG. The company registered 13.3 million smartphone shipments in Q2 2017 with strong performances in Asia and Europe. The company’s shipments declined 4% annually during the quarter. Its shipments in North America also declined sequentially because of lower-than-expected sales of its flagship smartphone G6.

ZTE

ZTE was the eight-largest brand capturing 3.3% market share during the quarter.

Lenovo (includes Motorola)

Lenovo (including Motorola) continue to face tough competition in markets like India and LATAM. The company, however, managed to hold on to its global marketshare of 3.2% during the quarter, same as in Q2-2016.

Alcatel

At No. 10 is Alcatel. The company saw a decline in its marketshare vis-a-vis the second quarter of previous year. The company held 1.3% marketshare globally in Q2 2017 as compared to 2.1% it held during the same quarter last year.

The growth of regional language users on the internet has been tremendous. A recent report by KPMG India and Google found that Indian language internet users have grown from 42 million in 2011 to 234 million in 2016, a number much higher than the 175 million English internet users in India in 2016. This spurt has helped entrepreneurs like Agarwal.

Lower data & smartphone costs

Indus OS, a mobile operating system targeted at Indians and which provides everything from the interface to app store in 12 Indian languages, works with eight Indian mobile brands including Micromax and Karbonn. Founder Rakesh Deshmukh says when they first tied up with Micromax in 2015, they were told that there would be a long term partnership only if 50,000 units were sold in a month. But in just 17 days of launch, 85,000 devices were sold. Today, Indus OS has 8 million users, and 77% of customers come from tier 2-3 cities.

Several factors have accelerated the pace in recent times – lower cost of smartphones and data, the rise of Jio, and the government’s focus on digital. Aadhaar, eKYC, and the UPI layers of India Stack too are helping startups, says Bala Girisaballa, Microsoft Accelerator’s residence-in-chief.

“We are starting to see a lot more activity (in local languages),” he says. The accelerator’s latest batch has two AI-based startups – Liv.Ai, and MegDap, which help convert local speech into text and translate one language to another.

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The government’s push for digital – in particular its dot Bharat domain registration scheme in 2014 – is what helped Ajay Data, founder of Jaipurbased Data Xgen, to come up with the idea of offering email domains in Indian languages.People can use the solution to send emails from addresses created in Indian language scripts to Gmail, Outlook, and others, as also communicate in those scripts. The company has part nered with the Rajasthan Government to provide a free email service in Hindi to all citizens.

Plenty of challenges still

Data Xgen has over 2 lakh users. But Data says he is finding it hard to scale due to challenges in integration with mainstream social media and e-commerce channels, which don’t accept linguistic email address es as valid logins.

Agarwal’s MultiBhashi is yet to find a viable revenue model for its consumer solution, partly because most users are from tier 2-3 cities and are unwilling to pay for the app. Agarwal, who is part of Axilor’s latest accelerator batch, is trying to overcome this by targetting enterprises. She is doing pilots with a few companies to help their employees learn other languages.

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The enterprise route is one that others have tried with success. Reverie Language Technologies, founded in 2009, provides language localisation for technology platforms right from the interface to the keyboard. It has 30 enterprise customers, including government bodies, internet companies and original equipment manufacturers. It has worked with the central government for its online commodities trading platform and the Karnataka government for digitising land records, says founder Arvind Pani

Investors warm up

Investors are warming up to this space, especially with the success of local language content ventures like Dailyhunt and InShorts. Virendra Gupta’s Dailyhunt, an Indian language news aggregator, is the most funded in this space with $84 million. With a reach of 50 million monthly active users, Gupta says advertisements are a big opportunity. “Both financial and non-financial investors are interested in companies like ours as we are catering to the mass market,” Gupta says.

Liv.Ai’s founder Subodh Kumar agrees: “One year ago, investors didn’t value regional languages much. Now they have understood the paying capacity of these regions,” he says. His company has raised $4 million.

Asutosh Updahyay, head of programmes at Axilor, says a lot of players have emerged in the local language space. “You will have to rely on strategies that can effectively manage the app store ratings, discounts, get the right engineering, and build products which are engaging. There will be some amount of consolidation,” he says.

[“Source-gadgetsnow”]