EghtesadOnline: Financial sanctions have in a sense been good for Iranian companies, they have allowed time for local companies to develop their own technological skills and boost local job creation. After all, necessity is the mother of invention.
Iran’s 80-million-storng market is now free to create applications and services many foreign companies would have launched if the financial, economic and banking restrictions were not imposed.
It is estimated that more than half of Iranians have a smartphone, and that 57% have access to the Internet (the proportion being much bigger in towns.)
Iranian Uber Clones
Despite being removed from Apple’s iOS store, Iran’s uber clones Snapp and Tap30 have gone on to shake up the country’s technology sector as well as the archaic and expensive traditional taxi industry, Financial Tribune reported.
It is not surprising that Snapp and Tap30 have already conquered 5 million subscribers in less than two years, to the point that the brands are now household names.
The apps headed by thirty-something mostly who have returned from abroad, have gone on to create an entire new class of drivers much preferred by people especially in the hot summer when they offer air-conditioning as standard.
For instance, Snapp has grown from 60 to 500 employees in the past year and now has more than 100,000 drivers - including women and VIP cars.
The applications are available only on Android, however, according to recent comments by Iran’s new Telecoms Minister Mohammad Javad Azari-Jahromi, the Google-backed Android mobile platform now constitutes 89% of Iran’s smartphone market.
Digitizing the Food Industry
Meanwhile, Snapp, backed by Iran Internet Group, itself a joint project between MTN-Irancell and Rocket Internet of Germany, recently re-launched the popular app-based online food ordering application.
SnappFood, (formally called ZoodFood) uses the brand name of its much bigger sibling to deliver online ordered food. This service has helped independent takeaway brands raise their profile despite the over saturation of the food delivery market.
SnappFood, has competition though, several other companies offer similar services in the delivery field, including AloPeyk, Chilivery and Reyhoon.
Booking Your Vacation
Booking online holidays and flights are also now available to Iranians with locally-issued debit cards. Several websites have been launched in recent years offering package tours and flights from international and local airlines at competitive prices.
Websites like WeGo.ir, Trip.ir, Eligasht.com and Alibaba.ir (unrelated to the billion dollar Chinese e-commerce website of the same name) offer a range of packages and flights at competitive prices.
Other websites like LastSecond.ir, a copy of the British LastMinute.com, also offer a range of short breaks to several destinations in the region and beyond with packages often undercutting traditional travel agencies by more than 30%.
Moreover, website and application Booking.com now lists Iranian hotels and even list prices in the local currency, however, due to the US restrictions on Iranian banks, people can only view the price.