Opera, that Norwegian software company best known for its mobile browser with the same name, has over the past five years helped a lot of Africans get online – it now has 100 million monthly users – through its browser’s data-saving tools.
The company is planning on doing more for the continent and has gone on to announce an investment of US$100 million to be used to further grow Africa’s digital economy over the next two years.
Specifically, the company will use the investment to speed up Internet adoption in Africa and strengthen the Internet ecosystem with local partners.
A part of the funds will be used to tweak its mobile browser, adding a state-of-the-art artificial intelligence engine to it, to make it content-focused.
This means Opera users will get fully personalised and localised content delivered to their browsers with the added luxury of reducing data usage by up to 90%.
Opera is already working with over 47 top tier African publishers covering 107 web sites to bring this initiative to life.
Another part of the investment will be used to bake value-added services, mobile payment and data bundling into the Opera mobile browser.
This will mean Opera users will not only have access to quality content and services, they will be able to pay for goods and services without leaving their browsers. Opera will enter into local partnerships to make this ambitious initiative work.
Yet another portion of the investment will be geared towards advertisements; preaching the gospel of an affordable Internet experience across the continent.
The company’s recently launched nationwide TV and radio commercials are airing in South Africa and Kenya already. Nigeria will be the next destination for the ads.
Opera also plans to hire 100 people over the next three years as it plans to expand into Nigeria and Kenya. These hires will man its new offices in Lagos and Nairobi.
“Africa is a very important market for Opera. Nine of the top 20 Opera Mini user countries are from Africa,” said Richard Monday, Vice President of Africa, Opera Software.
He added, “We aim to invest heavily in Africa, to build a local platform and grow with the local business partners. This platform will expand the user base for content providers, e-commerce businesses, operators, OEM’s and others to strengthen the African internet ecosystem.”