SAN FRANCISCO: Unlike Facebook, Twitter has found it hard to develop a large user base in emerging markets, so the messaging network is hoping that its launch of a new slimmed down and data-optimised version will remedy the situation.

Called Twitter Lite, the new browser-based app provides all the key features of Twitter, such as trends and notifications, but has been optimised for speed with up to 30% faster launch times.

In addition, Twitter Lite comes with a data saver mode to further reduce the amount of mobile data used by up to 70%, which will make it more affordable to use in areas where mobile data is expensive, such as the emerging markets that the company wants to reach.

"Twitter Lite is a great way for many people in emerging markets across Asia Pacific, Latin America and Africa to experience Twitter for the first time on their mobile devices," explained Patrick Traughber, Product Manager at Twitter, in a blog post.

India, in particular, is seen as a key market for Twitter, and it's no coincidence that the company is rolling out its new product during the same week that saw the start of the Indian Premier League Twenty20 cricket tournament.

"Today in India, we have partnered with Vodafone, one of the country's largest telecom operators with over 200m subscribers, to promote Twitter Lite to their customers as a way to get live sports updates on Indian Premier League matches, teams, and players as the cricket season kicks off," Traughber said.

With Twitter Lite specifically designed to work well on slow networks, the company is confident that it can now expand around the world.

In an interview with Reuters, Twitter VP of Product Keith Coleman said: "We didn't feel like we were reaching these other countries well enough, and this will allow us to do it faster, cheaper and with a better experience than we've had before."

Data sourced from Twitter; additional content by WARC staff