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Opera browser company to help with web outreach


A woman using her smartphone in Pyinmana city near Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar, November 10, 2014. Photo: Rungroj Yongrit/EPA

A woman using her smartphone in Pyinmana city near Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar, November 10, 2014. Photo: Rungroj Yongrit/EPA

Opera, an active player in the global web browser business, sees real potential in Myanmar’s expanding smartphone market and growing internet reach, according to Tech in Asia on April 2.

Opera sent representatives to Yangon last week to share an initiative with the emerging market.

During a joint meeting hosted by Tech in Asia and Opera, Mr Huib Kleinhout, the product manager of Opera Coast, says that Myanmar is a very exciting market, and Opera wants to take part in its growth. According to him, only five percent of the Myanmar population is online, and 48 percent of those run on 3G and 4G broadband connections.

Last year Qatar’s Ooredoo and Norway’s Telenor entered the market and enabled 3G network access for as low as US$1.50 [K1,500]. The two companies are building a network of cell towers to help ease Myanmar’s infrastructure woes.

Mr Kleinhout and Ms Jasmin Gill, Opera’s communications specialist for South Asia, said they came to Myanmar to connect the unconnected. In terms of tech sophistication, Mr Kleinhout said Myanmar should be able to catch up with other emerging markets in Southeast Asia, despite having a late start.

Opera Mini, the company’s mobile browser for Android and iOS, already has a total of 350 million users. Opera Mini helps users by sending their requests to the Opera Mini server, where queries and results are then compressed and sent back to users. This helps cut down on the amount of data used by the customer. As the majority of data users in Myanmar operate on prepaid plans, Opera Mini could be one option to help them manage their data usage.

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