The move by mobile-first Quartz makes sense considering the country’s burgeoning smartphone market. Smartphone sales are predicted to pick up heavily this year, “vaulting India ahead of the US to make it the second-largest country for smartphone use in the world.”
And according to Pew: “While internet access is lagging in India, cell phone usage is much more prevalent, with 77% of the population owning a mobile device.”
Still, the market isn’t perfectly ripe for a Quartz takeover. Pew reported in April that only 9 percent of mobile users in India use their phones to access social media sites (more than half of Quartz’s traffic comes from social referrals). And only 8 percent of mobile phone owners use their devices to get “political news and information.”
That’s likely due in part to the fact that so many of these devices are still feature phones. But as low-cost smartphones gain market share, sites like BuzzFeed, the Huffington Post and Quartz are betting they’ll see big mobile audiences.
A spokesperson told Poynter that about 40 percent of overall unique visitors to Quartz come from smartphones and tablets, while the category accounts for 30 percent of unique visits from India. Quartz is partnering with Indian news startup Scroll, which has about half of its traffic come from smartphones, for Quartz India.
Quartz has about 5 million unique visitors per month, with 200,000 of them from India.