NEW DELHI: The number of consumers in India who use Twitter, the microblogging service, has almost doubled since the start of this year.

At present, Twitter retains 105 million members globally, with 60% of this audience now being drawn from outside of the US.

Writing on a company blog, Matt Sanford, lead engineer of the social network's international operations, argued that its success in India was aided by the celebrities who are active on its site.

"Signups in India have increased nearly 100% since the beginning of 2010 due in part to politicians like Shashi Tharoor and Bollywood mega-stars Shahrukh Khan, Priyanka Chopra and Abhishek Bachchan," he said.

As the mobile phone penetration rate is much higher in India than that for personal computers, providing people with access to its pages via wireless handsets has been integral to Twitter's local strategy.

"We partnered with Bharti Airtel, India's largest carrier, to ensure that a large portion of India's 550 million cellphone users can send and receive tweets via SMS at standard rates," said Sanford.

It has adopted a similar approach in other developing markets like Indonesia and Haiti, as it seeks to heighten its presence across the globe.

According to comScore, the research firm, Orkut is the most popular social network in India at present, with a reach of 46.8% of the online population, although these figures only covered PC users.

Data sourced from Twitter; additional content by Warc