After partnering with Nokia, Quikr plans to build dedicated apps for tablets

Telecom Lead India: Quikr, horizontal classifieds company, was launched in
July 2008 and is currently present in 65 cities across India. The company
provides the local community in every city a platform where consumers can buy,
sell, rent, find something and address a need while doing so, in over 165 categories. A few months back, Quikr partnered with Nokia to offer its Quikr
app on Nokia handsets. Pranay Chulet, CEO of Quikr India, talks about their
association with handset manufacturers, trends in the mobile app industry and
their business model.


Please highlight your partnership with Nokia
for launching Quikr app.

We have tied up with Nokia for distribution of our apps through Nokia devices
as well as Nokia Store.  We have deployed our Java (S40), Symbian as well
Windows Phone apps through our association with Nokia.


Android app market is booming, then why have
you chosen a non-android manufacturer? Wouldn’t it lower your business?

We monitor the device OEMs and platforms that our mobile consumers use to
access our services. Our data shows that majority of the web users in India are
coming through Nokia devices. Nokia has made strong comeback with some
attractive, app-friendly S40 devices and through its Windows Phone launch. So
we do not expect Nokia to lose its lead in India anytime soon. At the same
time, we do see Android growing faster than any other platform. Keeping this in
mind we launched our Android app last year and have also partnered with OEMs
like Micromax and Huawei to distribute our Android app. As a highly successful
consumer web-service we need to make sure that we support all platforms that
our consumers are using. And we are prioritizing our efforts accordingly.


What are the current trends in the mobile app

The mobile app industry is evolving at a rapid pace and establishing itself as
a viable alternate to browser-based access to web services via the mobile.
 In some countries and certain consumer categories, app access is as big
as or larger than mobile browser based access.  Relatively speaking, it
may be early days for the mobile app industry in India, as the ecosystem of
OEMs, operators, developers, app stores and publishers is just starting to fall
in place, but the future for this space holds tremendous opportunities.
 There are a number of platforms for which apps can be developed today –
iPhone, Android, Symbian, Java, Windows Phone, Blackberry, MRE, etc.
 While this creates challenges in developing and maintaining apps across
various platforms, there is also an opportunity here to find solutions for easy
cross-platform development and deployment.  The other interesting
developments are going to be in the mobile app distribution and monetization
space. The related models for the web, be it SEO, SEM or advertising-based
monetization, are well-understood. We expect these types of models to develop
and be better defined for the mobile apps world as well in the coming years.
And then there is a whole new sector which is just coming into its own we
believe that the development of mobile payments can give a big boost to
innovation in mobile app monetization.

How has mobile app changed your business model? Has it helped you in revenue


So far, our mobile app focus has been on growing
users and learning about user behavior in this new medium.  We have
employed our early learnings in this area to help our users conduct
transactions more easily by regularly accessing the new choices our platform
offers them.  And we will continue to launch product innovations in the
coming months. Going forward, it should be quite easy for us to replicate our
advertising and premium listings models in this medium as well, when the time
is right.   We also think that the facts that the mobile device is
location aware, always on, and more easily accessible (compared to a PC)
creates new possibilities for other models of monetization, and we continue to
explore these possibilities.      


Smartphones and tablet market is also
flourishing. Is there any plan to develop apps for these segments?


We already have apps for the major smartphone
platforms that will also work on tablets running the same OS. We will look at
building dedicated apps for tablets as the market grows.  


What are your new challenges and opportunities
in Indian market?

Being the market leader in India, we clearly
see an opportunity for Quikr to define and shape the classifieds category
consumption through mobile web and apps.  The tremendous growth forecast
for mobile internet in the coming years, the impending launch of LTE networks,
affordable bandwidth, and the proliferation of cheap feature-rich devices will
create lots of opportunities for innovation and growth. In our case, the
biggest challenge is to keep up with the growth of our user base on mobile and
elsewhere. Other companies may have a different challenge in how to acquire
users but, due to our clear leadership in the market, that’s not a problem we


Which are the new technologies that will be
deployed quicker in mobility application space?


We see HTML 5 potentially growing quickly as a
technology that bridges the mobile web and the mobile app world, and possibly
also providing a solution to the multi-platform deployment challenges that
publishers today are faced with


Danish Khan
[email protected]