After China, India is one of the big markets that U.S. tech companies are eager to expand into. With that in mind, Twitter has made its first acquisition in the country by scooping up Indian mobile marketing startup ZipDial for an estimated $30 million.
ZipDial’s business model picks up on caller habits that are specific to India. In a country with expensive data plans and more limited Internet access, friends routinely send the equivalent of text messages like “I’m home safe” by dialing each other, letting it ring a couple of times, and then hanging up.
To capitalize on this behavior, ZipDial establishes special phone numbers for brands which can be spread through print ads and TV commercials. Customers can call these numbers, and hang up before being charged for the call. The callers can then be contacted by the companies via text or phone calls, with coupons, contests, and other marketing opportunities. To date, the service has reached close to 60 million users—and shows no signs of slowing down.
With 77% of Twitter’s 284 million monthly active users coming from outside the U.S.–and India being a particularly fast-growing market for the company–the ZipDial acquisition will only help increase Twitter’s user base, while also providing it with an R&D office in India.
“By coming together with ZipDial, we’ll help more people around the world enjoy great and relevant Twitter experiences on their mobile phones,” Twitter noted in a statement.