As tech companies attempt to find ways to break into developing markets, they might take a page from Facebook's book.
Facebook Lite isn’t so light in users. On Wednesday, the social media giant announced that more than 200 million people are now using the stripped-down version of its app every month, representing a 100 percent increase from last March. First launched in June 2015, the Android-only app has come a long way in a short period of time and suggests that Mark Zuckerberg’s focus on developing markets just may be a strategic one.
In order to further capitalize on this growth, Facebook says it has plans to further expand the app’s availability. By including South Korea, the United Arab Emirates, Italy, and Israel on the growing list of countries in which Facebook Lite is available, Facebook hopes that a greater number of users who may have inexpensive phones and limited internet access will still be able to reap the benefits of connectivity — at least as far as Facebook is concerned.
Once the newest countries are added, Facebook Lite will be available in more than 100 different nations. Furthermore, the app has been updated with more features from the standard Facebook mobile experience, so users can now like, comment, and share posts. Mashable reports that users will also see performance improvements with the new version of Facebook Lite.
Still, the app weighs in at less than 1MB in size, making it ideal for limited data plans, 2G networks, and places with unstable internet connections. In developing markets like India (which represent an enormous opportunity for Facebook and tech companies in general), more than 95 percent of mobile phone users have older, more basic Android phones, which makes Facebook Lite an ideal app to have. The application can be run on any device that supports Android 2.3 and above.