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Twitter makes first Indian acquisition with startup ZipDial

Though the deal size was not disclosed, reports suggest the monetary value is between USD 30-40 million (between Rs 185 crore-Rs 247 crore).

New Delhi: In a first, Twitter has acquired an Indian mobile marketing start-up ZipDial in a bid to ramp up its business and revenues in one of its fastest growing markets.

The micro-blogging giant, however, did not disclose the amount for which it acquired the Bangalore-based firm.

According to reports, the deal value is between USD 30-40 million (between Rs 185 crore-Rs 247 crore).

Twitter is focusing on increasing commercial opportunities in India and working closely with companies on marketing. It yesterday announced appointment of India Business Head and also tied up with private lender ICICI Bank.

The efforts are part of Twitter's strategy to strengthen its platform, especially on mobile devices, and connect brands with customers.

"India is one of the fastest growing countries for us. We have been focused on growing our audience here and this acquisition (ZipDial) will dramatically accelerate that strategy," Twitter Market Director (India and Southeast Asia) Rishi Jaitly told PTI.

The acquisition will also aid Twitter in strengthening its engineering efforts in the country, he added.

"Millions of people are coming online for the first time in countries like Brazil, India and Indonesia. For many, their first online experience will be on a mobile device ? but the cost of data may prevent them from experiencing the true power of the Internet. Twitter, in partnership with ZipDial, can make great content more accessible to everyone," he said.

In its latest quarterly report, Twitter had pointed out that in certain emerging markets like India, many users access its site using feature phones affecting its ability to deliver advertisements, resulting in reduced ad engagements and adversely affecting its business and operating results.

The acquisition of ZipDial will address the issue.

ZipDial has built a mobile platform that lets people follow and engage with content across interfaces, combining SMS, voice, mobile web, and access to mobile apps to bridge users from offline to online.

ZipDial co-founder Sanjay Swamy said the deal puts Indian start-ups on the map in San Francisco and Silicon valley. It also shows the technological maturity of the firms.

When asked about the size of the deal, he said: All I can say is that all investors, founders and shareholders have done very well financially from this deal."

Research firm eMarketer forecast that India will become Twitter's third-largest market with 18.1 million users in 2014.

Seventy-eight percent of over 284 million users on the NYSE-listed firm are from outside the US.