Business

Yahoo confident Koprol
will catch rivals

Supported by an exploding number of mobile Internet users in the country, Yahoo Indonesia is upbeat its newly acquired local mobile social networking service, Koprol, will become a national favorite.

Yahoo Indonesia manager Pontus Sonnerstedt said he was optimistic that Koprol, which was acquired recently from software developer PT SkyEight, would be able to compete against existing social networking services.

According to an earlier report, the number of Indonesian Facebook users reached 14 million as of 2009, placing Indonesia as the country with the fourth highest number of users after the United States, UK and Turkey.

Social networking site Twitter has also recorded a growing number of users in Indonesia. The number of Twitter users in Indonesia reached 1.4 million as of November 2009, according to tempointeraktif.com.

“Social networking is showing a very strong trend in Indonesia. For us, it is a focus area to introduce Koprol,” Pontus said.

Koprol is a location-based micro-blogging site that keeps people informed about the latest events. It was specifically created for mobile devices. Pontus said that Koprol was a big investment, not only because of its nature as a social networking product, but also because of the work involved in making it accessible to mobile phones.

His optimism was supported by recent data released by the International Data Corporation, which said the total number of Internet users
in Indonesia reached 25.4 million, of which 15 million were mobile Internet users.

“This year, mobile Internet users in Indonesia passed 60 percent of the total number of Internet users,” Sonnerstedt said, adding that ratios in neighboring countries such as, Malaysia, Vietnam and the Philippines were 30 percent at most.

The percentage of mobile Internet users jumped to 48 percent in 2010 from 22 percent in 2009, according to research by Yahoo and Taylor Nelson Sofres.

The research surveyed Jakarta; Bogor, Bandung, Bekasi in West Java; Tangerang in Banten; Surabaya in East Java; Medan in North Sumatra; Semarang in Central Java; Palembang in South Sumatra and Makassar in South
Sulawesi.

The research showed that major cities Semarang, Bandung and Makassar had recorded 70 percent, 62 percent and 57 percent increases in mobile Internet users.

Commenting on the swiftly increasing percentage of mobile Internet users, Sonnerstedt said mobile devices were both affordable and widely available in the country.

“Mobile phones are everywhere,” he said, adding that Yahoo would focus its business on mobile services this year.

“We want to reach new [mobile] Internet users.” (map)

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