LinkedIn launches Lite app for Android users

Bengaluru: LinkedIn India announced the launch of a quicker-to-load version of its mobile app, LinkedIn Lite, for Android users in the country on Thursday. It will start rolling out the new app to other countries as well in a couple of weeks.

The professional networking firm’s India team launched the LinkedIn Lite website last September to cater to users in poor or low connectivity areas, especially in tier II and tier III towns. The app is an extension of the same strategy. LinkedIn’s India head, Akshay Kothari, said the company has seen a growing interest in its platform from users in tier II and tier III towns over the past six months.

The LinkedIn Lite website and the newly-launched app are expected to add to that interest from smaller cities and towns and also, the company hopes, help grow its overall India user base (currently 42 million) at a faster clip. India is the company’s largest market after the US globally and currently clocks a two-year growth rate of 40% in terms of user base.

“If you look at the uniques hitting our mobile website, it has doubled in the last six months and the engagement on the platform has gone (up) 3X in the past six months. LinkedIn Lite android app is the next step in this evolution of making LinkedIn more accessible all over India,” Kothari said in an interview.

The new app is targeted only at Android users since roughly 97% of smartphone users in India are on Android, according to the firm. It will only take up 700 KB of space on a user’s phone. LinkedIn Lite reduces data consumption by 80% and enables people to use the same functions as the older app but at one-thirtieth the size, the firm said.

A majority of the company’s customers use LinkedIn on their phones—either via the app or the mobile website. In smaller cities and towns, in fact, it is a mobile-only market, said Kothari. “One of the things we’ve seen in the last six months is our growth, especially in tier II and tier III towns, has doubled. And a lot of that is just because LinkedIn has become more accessible to these folks,” he added.

Neha Dharia, a technology analyst with Ovum Plc., said LinkedIn is headed in the right direction with its Lite strategy. People in tier II and tier III cities are probably not logging on too often now and building a lighter app is the company’s way of getting them to engage more, said Dharia. It is also a clever move for a company that is also trying to become a content platform and gives it better footing to compete with the likes of Twitter, she added.

“All of this powers the monetization business. The more people we have on the platform, the more full their profiles are, the more engaged they are, the more easily we can help companies hire and market better to these candidates and so on,” Kothari said.