How Mozilla manages its Asian communities

Similar to any other open source software projects, Mozilla’s success also depends on its community of vigorous contributors and relentless volunteers that constantly commit to the project. In support, Mozilla Foundation, formerly known as Mozilla Organization, and its for-profit subsidiary, Mozilla Corporation, both allocate a special portion of funds from their revenue, to maintain, strengthen and expand activities of their communities. These funds are also especially in recognition of  the dedicated few in order to support their efforts.

e27 caught up with Gen Kanai, Director of Asia Business Development as well as member of the contributor engagement team for Mozilla. Gen is also a fellow at the US-Japan Leadership Program and Asia Society’s Asia 21 Young Leaders Initiative who was born in New York and stays in Tokyo.

From 350 million Internet users worldwide in over 70 different languages using Firefox, what is the percentage of Asia countries usage share? How many translation has been done and communities have been established by now? How many Asian volunteers in total, involved?

“Firefox has more than 450 million users worldwide and is localized in more than 80 different languages.  Mozilla does not track market share by continent, although third parties such as Stat-Counter and NetApplications do provide some of this data. Mozilla has multiple Asian localizations for Firefox including:

* Bengali (Bangladesh)
* Bengali (India)
* Chinese (Simplified)
* Chinese (Traditional)
* Gujurati
* Hindi
* Indonesian
* Japanese
* Kannada
* Korean
* Oriya [Beta]
* Punjabi
* Sinhala
* Tamil [Beta]
* Tamil (Sri Lanka) [Beta]
* Telugu
* Thai
* Vietnamese

Mozilla does not track specific numbers for volunteers and contributors in each region but we can say that in Asia there are hundreds of active contributors and thousands of casual contributors to Mozilla.”

In Asia, based on latest report from Stat-Counter, as the second widely used browser, Firefox share is declining into 26 percent while Chrome, ranked third, is reaching 25 percent usage, similar things happened in the worldwide trend. How are Mozilla going to tackle the decreasing trend?

“Firefox remains strong, even with increased competition. There are 450 million people in the world who choose a browser that answers to no one but them.”

With around 76 percent usage, Indonesia has become the country with the largest market share for Mozilla Firefox, leaving Google Chrome far behind in the 2nd place with 16 percent. What are the key success factors from its users and what Mozilla have been doing thus far?

“We believe Firefox has enjoyed positive word-of-mouth support in Indonesia, where technology trends have often swept through the online population. A Bahasa Indonesia Firefox has been available since the early days of Firefox and has also been popular with a portion of Indonesian Firefox users. Mozilla is committed to supporting Indonesian users and the Mozilla Indonesia community has grown significantly since 2010 to enable that support.”

Having conducted several joined and stand-alone events across Asia for years, which one delivers biggest impact in gaining more browser share?

“Mozilla does not conduct events to gain browser share per se. Mozilla events focus on our community who, in turn, supports both Mozilla and Firefox users.”

Instead of Indonesia, which are Firefox’s top 5 Asia countries in terms of biggest market share? Which are Mozilla top priorities and why?

“You can find the latest worldwide market share data at StatCounter. We do not specify any country as top priority, however Mozilla is very concerned by the de-factor browser monopoly in South Korea, where 99% of Internet users must use Windows and Internet Explorer and users do not have a choice of browser.”

The fact you just mentioned is quite surprising. What did Mozilla do about it, if any?

“I originally published the first English-language news about the South Korean browser monopoly in 2007.

Since that time, Mozilla has worked with concerned citizens in Korea to try to change the related legislation in that country. Mozilla continues to work on technical and non-technical solutions to open the browser market in South Korea with the support of concerned Korean netizens.”

By now Mozilla has already had three offices and eight local sites. Is there any plan to have additional office and site at the end of this year or next year, perhaps?

“Mozilla is evaluating new offices in the Asian region.”

Are there any plans to have another event in Asian countries, other than the November Mozilla Camp Asia?

“Our community contributors are planning events in many Asian countries. In some of these events, Mozilla is co-sponsoring an existing event. In other cases, Mozilla community contributors are planning events in their own city, community or school.”

How many applications developed by Mozilla Community in Asia? Which one is the masterpiece?

“Mozilla does not track applications developed by the community by geography. However, one of the more powerful Add-ons for Firefox is Pencil, a GUI prototyping tool built by a Vietnamese team, Evolus.”

At Echelon 2010, you have presented case studies on how start-ups can utilize the Firefox browser add-on to grow and retain their users. Would you mind to share it once again to our readers?

“Certainly. My presentation is available here

At present, Mozilla has communities in eight Asian and South Pacific countries while new communities are being formed. As this article was being written, we were informed that a new community had been set up in Bangladesh.

Photo of 2010 Firefox Developer Conference, Japan. Photo credits: Gen Kanai

Goutama Bachtiar

Goutama is a Technologist, Consultant, Trainer, Writer & Courseware Developer mostly in enterprise space. Having written for a number of other outlets on technology and business, he is fascinated with Tech Investment and Social Tech. The e27 Senior Contributing Writer based in Jakarta counts travel, culture, culinary, coffee and soccer among his myriad interests.

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