Chatty Indians can give Tinder its biggest market yet

Dating app set to open its first office outside the US in India

January 08, 2016 12:00 am | Updated September 22, 2016 11:01 pm IST - MUMBAI:

Taru Kapoor, Tinder’s India head. Photo: Special arrangement

Taru Kapoor, Tinder’s India head. Photo: Special arrangement

Riding on its growing popularity in the country, dating app Tinder is busy getting ready to set up its India office, its first outside the US. Tinder’s confidence is further boosted by India’s potential to become its biggest market, driven by the number of young people who will be having their first online experience through their mobiles in the next five years, Taru Kapoor, its India head told The Hindu .

Tinder also appointed Ms Kapoor, an MBA from Harvard who was previously with The Boston Consulting Group, as its India Head.

“The potential is based on sheer numbers. India is already the second-largest market for Facebook. It is among the top three markets for most global social networks or is at least getting there. The number of young people coming online especially on the mobile phone for the first time is gigantic, especially when you count out China, which does not adopt English as its first language,” Taru Kapoor said in an interview on the sidelines of TieCon in Mumbai.

She said India is among the fastest growing countries for Tinder, adding, “For me, the most exciting part is there are tens if not hundreds or millions of potential Tinder users coming online on the mobile in the next five years”.

Recently, the number of mobile phone subscribers topped one billion in India, making it the only country after China to cross that milestone. The number of subscribers in October reached 1.03 billion, up 0.7 per cent from the preceding month, data from the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India showed.

Ms Kapoor said she sees a lot of potential in India for products including Tinder in the next five years. “Of course we have to listen to them (users) to make a great product and user experience is the key.”

She also said India is a very exciting market especially for mobile-first products and experiences. “The 18-19-year-old user does not have same baggage as the 30-year-old who has moved from the desktop. And they are very expressive and aggressive. I think in the next five years, we will see it playing out.”

Terming India a heterogeneous country, Ms Kapoor said it is important to understand the complexity very well to address it. She also gave an example of how Indians like to chat a lot. “We have the most chattable connections for India than in any other country. It is like 3x the global average. We have some facets of human behaviour and we are learning.”

Ms Kapoor also said Tinder is not only about dating, though it remains a popular category. People are finding jobs, bands and friends as well and it is a way for people to meet people, she added, noting the firm added the jobs and education categories recently, which was one of the top requests from India. She said Tinder is watching product interaction very closely and is looking at feedback to adapt to localisation as needed.

“We are present across 200 countries. You’ve got to understand there is a thin line between adding too many features to localise the product and killing it. The good part of Tinder is that it satisfies the core human need and that’s why it works. That is why it is the largest app in India, because it satisfies something human,” she added.

Jobs and education categories, recently added, were among the top requests from India

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