The global internet brand Opera has announced the launch of a new dedicated chat service, for which Africa will be one of the target markets.
The service, called Hype, will be built into the mobile web browser Opera Mini. With the introduction of Hype, Opera says it is rethinking the concept of mobile browsers, providing users with a personalized, engaging browsing experience that enables seamless surfing, sharing and communication – without compromising speed or driving increased data consumption.
In fact Hype launched this week, using Kenya as a pilot market. Kenyan users can now set up their Hype account and start chatting with secure end-to-end encryption.
This Africa-focused approach is not surprising. Opera has long emphasised growing its digital ecosystem in Africa, with the goal of bringing more people online; since 2018, Opera has grown its user base in Africa by 40 percent.
In fact Opera Mini, withs more than 100 million users worldwide, is one of the most widely used mobile browsers in emerging markets, where populations are largely mobile-first and reliant on paid data plans.
The app responds to the specific needs of these markets with features like data compression, offline file sharing, and built-in ad-blocker, saving on data use and enabling safe, fast browsing where unlimited data isn't the norm. By integrating chat functionality, Opera Mini users can now browse, chat and seamlessly share content – a key use case within messaging services – within a single, data-saving app.
“Hype was developed first and foremost with African consumers in mind,” said Charles Hamel, product lead for Hype. "Today, 40 percent of the Kenyan population has access to smartphones, with younger generations dominating as 75 percent of their 47 million inhabitants are under 30 years old.”
He added: "With such early adopter demographics at play, there is massive potential for the growth of Hype in Kenya. We are also partnering with the leading telecommunication carriers in the country, offering free daily browsing to all Opera Mini users.”