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Facebook Launches Instagram Lite in Africa, Other Emerging Economies

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Facebook Inc, leading social media giant, on Thursday announced it has launched Instagram Lite in Sub-Saharan Africa and other emerging economies.

The new lightweight version of the Instagram app for Android uses less data and works well across all network conditions, according to the company.

The new version of Instagram Lite for Android is less than 2MB in size, making it fast to install and quick to load. It also has improved speed, performance, and responsiveness. Instagram Lite not only works similarly to the Instagram app for Android, but it allows the Instagram experience to remain fast and reliable for more people, no matter what device, platform and network they use.

Commenting on the rationale for introducing the app to Sub-Saharan Africa, Engineering Manager for Instagram Lite, Peter Shin said, “Connectivity in the region can be unstable, slow and expensive, making it challenging for people to have a high-quality Instagram experience. Many people were already familiar with the concept of a Lite app after the successful roll-out of Facebook Lite some years ago. We started testing the new version of Instagram Lite when people across the continent started asking for a Lite app for Android. The feedback was very positive and we are excited to launch it across the continent today“.

Our team aims to leave no one behind, so today we are very excited to bring Instagram Lite to people in over 170 countries, including the entire Sub-Saharan Africa region,” he added.

Instagram Lite is similar to the core Instagram app experience, though some features are not currently supported, such as Reels creation, Shopping, and IGTV. Instagram Lite is likely to gain appeal to users in locations with limited bandwidth or high data costs, especially in the developing world.

Instagram Lite is currently rolling out in over 170 countries, and Facebook remains committed to building and improving the app to help everyone in the world connect to the people and things they love.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

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WeChat Brand Worth $68B, More than Three Major Chinese Banks

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As the leading social networking app in China and the fifth most widely used globally, WeChat saw impressive growth amid the COVID-19 pandemic, both in revenue and the number of users. The brand value of Tencent Holding’s mobile messaging app also surged in the last year, launching WeChat among the strongest brands globally.

According to data presented by StockApps.com, WeChat brand value hit almost $68bn in 2021, more than three major Chinese banks.

The World’s Strongest Brand

WeChat or also called China’s “app for everything,” offers services from messaging and banking to taxi services and online shopping. During the pandemic, the app also helped keep track of those traveling or in quarantine, providing access to real-time data on COVID-19, online consultations, and self-diagnosis services powered by artificial intelligence to more than 300 million users.

This diversity of services offered to its users, especially amid the pandemic, helped the WeChat brand value surge by 25% YoY, revealed the 2021 Brand Finance’s Global 500 survey. With a valuation of $67.8bn, WeChat jumped nine spots on the ranking to enter the top 10 for the first time, behind giants like Apple, Amazon, Google, Walmart, or Facebook.

Also, the popular app ranked higher than the three major banks in China. In comparison, China Construction Bank hit a $59.6bn brand value this year, $8.3bn less than WeChat. Agricultural Bank of China and Bank of China also ranked below the popular messaging app, with $53.1bn and $48.6bn value, respectively.

The Brand Finance survey also revealed WeChat overtook Ferrari to become the world’s strongest brand with a top score of 95.4 out of 100 and an AAA+ brand strength rating. The relative strength of brands is measured through a balanced scorecard of metrics evaluating marketing investment, stakeholder equity and business performance.

Statistics show the Chinese mobile app is one of merely 11 brands in the ranking to have been awarded the elite AAA+ brand strength rating.

More than Hit 1.2 Billion Active Monthly Users

WeChat has lots of popular messaging app features, including Moments. A majority of WeChat users access WeChat Moments every time they open the app. Voice and text messaging, group messaging, payment and games are other examples of WeChat services.

Tencent’s 2020 financial results revealed the number of WeChat active accounts has been multiplying over the past years.

Between 2011 and 2015, the number of monthly active accounts surged from 2.8 million to nearly 700 million. In the first quarter of 2018, WeChat`s user base hit the one-billion benchmark, and the number just kept rising.

Statistics show the popular social networking app had over 1.2 billion monthly active users in the last quarter of 2020, ranking as the fifth most widely used social networking app globally.

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Lack of Basic Amenities, Unclear Growth Policy Force Twitter to Ghana, Builds Headquarters in Ghana

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Jack Dorsey, Twitter co-founder on Monday announced Ghana has been chosen as African Headquarters over Nigeria despite the tech giant having the largest African users and revenue from Nigeria.

The announcement was made by both Dorsey and Nana Akufo-Addo, President of Ghana.

The choice of Ghana as HQ for Twitter’s Africa operations is excellent news. Government and Ghanaians welcome very much this announcement and the confidence reposed in our country,” said Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo.

President Akufo-Addo, who held a virtual meeting with Jack last week, said  “As I indicated to Jack in our virtual meeting on 7th April 2021, this is the start of a beautiful partnership between Twitter and Ghana, which is critical for the development of Ghana’s hugely important tech sector. These are exciting times to be in and to do business in Ghana.”

It was shocking that in spite of Dorsey visiting Nigeria, investing and supporting several startups like Mark Zuckerberg has been doing since he first visited Africa’s largest economy, there were several issues like unclear policy path, basic amenities, unnecessary bottleneck because of bribery, etc that were more imperative to Twitter future in Africa than what Nigeria is presently offering despite its potential.

While it was obvious that Nigeria remains a target given its huge potentials, Twitter preferred to operate from outside with manageable proximity unlike if it was in South Africa like Facebook.

According to Twitter, in a statement released on Monday, the decision was based on Ghana’s openness towards the internet and handling of AfCFTA released matters.

As a champion for democracy, Ghana is a supporter of free speech, online freedom, and the Open Internet, of which Twitter is also an advocate. Furthermore, Ghana’s recent appointment to host The Secretariat of the African Continental Free Trade Area aligns with our overarching goal to establish a presence in the region that will support our efforts to improve and tailor our service across Africa,” the statement read.

As a Nigerian, this is not good given that we have a huge unemployment rate at 33.33 percent, a weak GDP growth rate at 0.11 percent, a rising inflation rate at over 17 percent, weak revenue generation and low foreign reserves. This would have been an opportunity to boost each of those metrics and also sell the nation as a true tech hub to other establishments.

In recent months, several of Nigeria’s startups have raised huge capital with the latest coming from Appzone that raised $10 million after Paystack was acquired for over $200 million. Kuda Bank, Bankly, etc have gone on to raised mouthwatering amounts to further deepen their presence across Africa but lack of infrastructure, stable policy and genuine internet openness continue to impede Nigeria’s true potential as leading Africa’s tech nation.

Twitter immediately commenced recruitment in Ghana on Monday in an effort to hit the ground running.

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Facebook Research Unveils Tips For Nigerian Businesses To Plan and Adapt During Ramadan

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The social media giant, Facebook, has offered six ways for Nigerian brands and businesses to plan and adapt during Ramadan 2021 to mitigate the negative effect of COVID-19 pandemic.

The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted the way people live, connect, shop and discover. This was more evident during Ramadan, a period of introspection and celebration for nearly 2 billion people.

During Ramadan, people want to come together, whether virtually or socially distanced, to share the joy with loved ones. Despite inevitable differences to recent years, we will see the emergence of new discovery and shopping behaviours.

To better understand the behaviours of people who observe Ramadan and who shop for this season, Facebook IQ, Facebook’s insights and research division, in partnership with YouGov, a global public opinion and data company, has unveiled findings of a study conducted during Ramadan 2020, with over 17,000 respondents across eleven countries including Nigeria.

Approximately 1,500 interviews were completed with samples that were representative of the adult online population across age, gender and region in each market. The research explored a range of areas, including people’s purchasing and media habits, the impact of COVID-19, the role of influencer content and how communities give back.

The research highlights the booming e-commerce industry is significantly driving the digital economy in Nigeria. Here are six tips forNigerianbrands and businesses to effectively adapt and plan this Ramadan:

Discover new ways to support businesses

The theme of giving back is deeply rooted in Ramadan. People are increasingly giving back with time and money – and this extends to local businesses too. 90% agree that brands should find ways of giving back during Ramadan. As people personally contribute to their communities, they increasingly expect the same of businesses. They want brands to express their values, speak authentically and stand up for causes they care about. In fact, the research also shows that 77% of survey respondentsin Nigeriabecame more interested in a brand after learning about their business practices. That is why brands must raise awareness of their support for local businesses and the community during the pandemic in a clear and simple way.

Discover mobile audiences

During Ramadan, people look to technology, especially mobile, to stay up-to-date and connect with family and friends. They also use mobile to shop and stay entertained. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, mobile has become the constant companion driving additional time spent on the small screen. The research shows that 52% of survey respondents in Nigeria spend more time using their mobile during the season. This means that more people are now using mobile across discovery, research and purchase compared to going in store. Knowing this, brands must leverage the rise in mobile entertainment and resources to reach the right audience where they are adapting to how and where they like to discover new things.

Discover partnerships

Creators offer a new source of credibility. Amongst the Ramadan observing and shopping community surveyed in Nigeria, 58% agreed that public figures and celebrities influence their purchasing decisions. They look to public figures for self-improvement content as well as deals, especially when it comes to discovering and purchasing new products and services. Brands must therefore engage with partners and creators to help reach new audiences in an authentic way and should explore collaborating with creators who can inspire, generate deals and announce trends.

Discover new demand

The demand from shoppers to browse and shop safely online is greater than ever as they spend less time shopping in physical stores. According to the research, 67% of survey respondentsin Nigeria spent more time shopping online during the Ramadan and Eid season because of COVID-19. On average, shoppers in Nigeria are 3x more likely to feel safer using mobile to shop, compared to in store. This year, brands must understand their audience’s needs and safety concerns when shopping online and on mobile, offering cross-border shoppers a frictionless experience throughout the entire purchase journey, both safely and conveniently.

Discover new opportunities

Ramadan is one of the biggest shopping moments of the year, yet most advertisers switch off spending during this time, based on the misapprehension that most people finish their Ramadan shopping early. People, however, are continually preparing their homes, meals and gifts for loved ones and are looking out for the best deals before and during the season. While 28% of the respondents in Nigeria started planning by March last year, about a month before celebrations started, only 18% had completed their shopping when Ramadan actually started. The research also indicates that the periods just before Ramadan and Eid are the biggest shopping periods. Brands must plan ahead to stay relevant and prepared for these shopping peaks, reminding people of what they love by tapping into their preferences.

Discover bargain hunters

As the impact of COVID-19 is felt locally, shoppers are increasingly price-sensitive and look to Facebook for deals and inspiration. 68% of the respondents in Nigeria look to discover more bargains during Ramadan and Eid. This price sensitivity applies to essentials like food and beverages, as well as to clothing and gift items, making mega sales all the more important during Ramadan. The research also indicates that in Nigeria, 67% of the respondents said they use Facebook platforms for inspiration, research and to discover new shopping ideas.

You can also take a closer look at the FBIQ Ramadan Interactive Report explore, compare and filter the findings to inform your Ramadan planning, understand audience expectations and forge more meaningful connections.

Through Facebook’s partnership with Getty Images, brands and marketers can also access the Yalla Ramadan stock image library to adapt their Ramadan campaigns and find visual inspiration.

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