CHENNAI: You know those little icons you touch on your smart phones to access anything from Facebook and Gmail to ordering dinner and getting some much deserved R&R? Well, those soon to be ubiquitous mobile applications have a lot more to them than simply giving you what you need. For the exponentially growing mobile app development industry in Chennai, they are big money - recently, a Madurai/Chennai-based company sold an app for a whopping $2,50,000 or Rs 1.6 crore at the current exchange rate. And they aren’t alone.
While relatively small compared to the app developing behemoths of India - Bengaluru, Gurgaon and Hyderabad, the Chennai/TN region does have a significant number of India’s app developers. According to L Hemachandran, co-founder and CEO of Brand Avatar, a branding and strategic consulting firm, “Chennai’s app development community is small but it has grown several fold in the last few years. While there is no firm figure for the number of app developers in this region, it might be as many as 16-17 per cent of the total Indian count of three lakh.”
Mobile Application developers, who were struggling for downloads less than two years ago and are strapped for cash at times, are now seeing an exponential growth in demand for their skills. A major reason, according to Industry experts, is the ongoing shift from desktop services to mobile platforms. Myntra just announced complete migration to the mobile platform, as smart phone penetration increases. “If companies want to connect with their younger/more well to do customers they have started to realise that they need to have mobile apps,” said Hemachandran.
For the company which developed the $250,000 million app, Dot Com Infoway, a majority of its business comes from third party clients. And this sector is only set to grow as smart phone penetration and the time Indians spend on them increases. “While entertainment and social media are big revenue generators, through advertisements, business applications like e-commerce form a large percentage of our business,” said C R Venkatesh, CEO.
The sheer range of options in terms of cost is also spurring growth. In India, a customer can get a very basic functional app for as little as Rs 10,000, according to Venkatesh. It can also cost as much as Rs 1.5 crore and more depending on the complexity.
While all this is likely to increase the number of Indian companies buying applications, the current app industry is also driven by overseas clients. “Nearly 80 per cent of our customers are from the US, Europe and Australian regions. The rest is Indian,” said Venkatesh.
The overseas demand for Indian app developers is also driven by cost competitiveness and the quality of Indian work, according to J Jayavasanthan, founder of JKL Technologies Pvt Ltd, a Chennai based app developer. “They find Indian developers more on their page,” he said.