opra20231231f_20fa.htm
0001737450 Opera Ltd true --12-31 FY 2023 2 1 2 7 10 6 5 15 5 5 1 3 3.0 10 1 5 5 5 2 8 2 0 0 5 6 Interest costs incurred on intra-group loans subject to interest limitation rules. "Other changes" includes the effect of reclassification of the non-current portion of liabilities to current due to the passage of time and the effect of accrued but not yet paid interest on interest-bearing loans and borrowings, including lease liabilities. As of December 31, 2023, Opera held investments in ordinary and preferred shares in OPay with a total carrying amount of $269.4 million and ordinary shares in Fjord Bank with a carrying amount of $0.9 million. As of December 31, 2022, these investments had a carrying amount of $86.1 million and $0.9 million, respectively. The shares in OPay are presented as a separate line item in the Statement of Financial Position as of December 31, 2023, while as of year-end 2022, the investment in OPay was classified as held for sale. The shares in Fjord Bank are presented as part of other non-current investments and financial assets. See Note 11 for more information. nHorizon Infinite ceased to be a related party from mid-2023. Excluding dividend adjustment grants. In 2022, crypto assets with an aggregate carrying amount of $1.5 million were presented as part of other current receivables. In 2023, crypto assets are presented as other intangible assets, as specified in Note 10. When the amount of tax deduction from share-based remuneration exceeds the amount of the related cumulative remuneration expense, the current and deferred tax associated with the excess is recognized directly in equity. Specified value is 4 years (modeled on yearly basis). Opera Limited has American depositary shares listed on the Nasdaq Global Select Market, each representing two ordinary shares in the company. Additions to and remeasurements of the right-of-use assets during the 2020 financial year were US$1.1 million. From the exercise of RSUs granted by Kunlun, the employees will acquire shares of Kunlun Tech Co., Ltd., a company listed on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange. For the year ended December 31, 2021, the share of net income (loss) of equity-accounted investees and the amount of impairment of equity-accounted investees have been adjusted, as disclosed in Note 1a. Amount in 2020 includes US$3.5 million related to actions taken following a short seller report. Investments in listed equity securities were presented as marketable securities in the Statement of Financial Position. Of the total amount of receivables due from Kunlun, the receivable from the sale of Star X amounted to $56.4 million and $32.8 million as of December 31, 2022 and 2023, respectively. The number of ordinary shares outstanding in the periods, and its ADS equivalent, are presented in the Statement of Changes in Equity. Includes accruals for social security costs related to share-based remuneration. Represents amount due from Kunlun for the recharge of certain corporate expenses. Additions to technology assets represent capitalized development expenditure net of grants received from the Norwegian government. Receivables from unsettled trades represented the amount due from brokers from the sale of listed equity securities under the former investment program described in Note 16. Currency effect on income tax (expense) benefit due to corporate income tax filings being in Norwegian kroner for Norwegian subsidiaries with the U.S. dollar as their functional currency. In 2021, the number of diluted weighted-average number of ordinary shares, and its ADS equivalent, excluded the effect of 2,766,525 ADSs that would be issued at the vesting of the employee equity grants because these potential shares would have had anti-dilutive effects on the diluted net loss per ADS and per share. 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UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

Washington, D.C. 20549

 

 

FORM 20-F/A

(Amendment No. 1)

 

REGISTRATION STATEMENT PURSUANT TO SECTION 12(b) OR (g) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

 

OR

 

ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2023.

 

OR

 

TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

 

OR

 

SHELL COMPANY REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

 

Commission file number: 001-38588

 

https://cdn.kscope.io/5a9e5c09a479940ccbc512a61d63f84c-operalogo01.jpg

 

Opera Limited

(Exact name of Registrant as specified in its charter)

Cayman Islands
(Jurisdiction of incorporation or organization)

Vitaminveien 4, 0485 Oslo, Norway
(Address of principal executive offices)

James Yahui Zhou, Chief Executive Officer
c/o Aaron McParlan, General Counsel
Vitaminveien 4, 0485 Oslo, Norway
Tel: +47 2369-2400
E-mail: legal@opera.com
(Name, Telephone, E-mail and/or Facsimile number and Address of Company Contact Person)

 

Securities registered or to be registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:

 

Title of each class

 

Trading Symbol

 

Name of each exchange on which registered

American Depositary Shares, each representing two ordinary shares, par value $0.0001 per share

 

OPRA

 

The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC

 

Securities registered or to be registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None
 

Securities for which there is a reporting obligation pursuant to Section 15(d) of the Act: None

 

 

 

 

Indicate the number of outstanding shares of each of the Issuer’s classes of capital or common stock as of the close of the period covered by the annual report.

 

175,036,568 ordinary shares, par value $0.0001 per share, as of December 31, 2023.

 

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act. 

Yes ☐         No

 

If this report is an annual or transition report, indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.

Yes ☐          No

 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant: (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.

Yes ☒          No ☐

 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files).

Yes ☒          No ☐

 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, or an emerging growth company. See definition of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.

 

Large accelerated filer ☐

Accelerated filer

Non-accelerated filer ☐

Emerging growth company

 

If an emerging growth company that prepares its financial statements in accordance with U.S. GAAP, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards† provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act. 

 ☐

 

†The term “new or revised financial accounting standard” refers to any update issued by the Financial Accounting Standards Board to its Accounting Standards Codification after April 5, 2012.

 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management’s assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. 7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report.

 

 

If securities are registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act, indicate by check mark whether the financial statements of the registrant included in the filing reflect the correction of an error to previously issued financial statements.

 

 

Indicate by check mark whether any of those error corrections are restatements that required a recovery analysis of incentive-based compensation received by any of the registrant’s executive officers during the relevant recovery period pursuant to§240.10D-1(b).

 ☐

 

Indicate by check mark which basis of accounting the registrant has used to prepare the financial statements included in this filing:

 

U.S. GAAP ☐

International Financial Reporting Standards as issued by the

International Accounting Standards Board ☒

Other ☐

 

If “Other” has been checked in response to the previous question, indicate by check mark which financial statement item the registrant has elected to follow. 

Item 17 ☐ Item 18 ☐

 

If this is an annual report, indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act).

Yes          No ☒

 

 

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

   

Page

EXPLANATORY NOTE 1

CONVENTIONS THAT APPLY TO THIS ANNUAL REPORT ON FORM 20-F

2

FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

3

PART I

 

4

 

Item 1. Identity of Directors, Senior Management and Advisers

4

 

Item 2. Offer Statistics and Expected Timetable

4

 

Item 3. Key Information

4

 

Item 4. Information on the Company

24

 

Item 4A. Unresolved Staff Comments

34

 

Item 5. Operating and Financial Review and Prospects

34

 

Item 6. Directors, Senior Management and Employees

45

 

Item 7. Major Shareholders and Related Party Transactions

52

 

Item 8. Financial Information

53

 

Item 9. The Offer and Listing

54

 

Item 10. Additional Information

54

 

Item 11. Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk

61

 

Item 12. Description of Securities Other Than Equity Securities

61

PART II

 

62

 

Item 13. Defaults, Dividend Arrearages and Delinquencies

62

 

Item 14. Material Modifications to the Rights of Security Holders and Use of Proceeds

62

 

Item 15. Controls and Procedures

62

 

Item 16A. Audit Committee Financial Expert

64

 

Item 16B. Code of Ethics

64

 

Item 16C. Principal Accountant Fees and Services

64

 

Item 16D. Exemptions from the Listing Standards for Audit Committees

65

 

Item 16E. Purchases of Equity Securities by the Issuer and Affiliated Purchasers

65

 

Item 16F. Change in Registrant's Certifying Accountant

65

 

Item 16G. Corporate Governance

65

 

Item 16H. Mine Safety Disclosure

65

 

Item 16I. Disclosure Regarding Foreign Jurisdictions That Prevent Inspections

65

 

Item 16J. Insider Trading Policies

65

 

Item 16K. Cybersecurity

66

PART III

 

67

 

Item 17. Financial Statements

67

 

Item 18. Financial Statements

67

 

Item 19. Exhibits

67

 

Signatures

67

INDEX TO CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

F-1

 

 

 

EXPLANATORY NOTE

 

We are filing this Form 20-F/A (this “Amendment No. 1”) to correct a technical error originating in the XBRL conversion process for our Form 20-F for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2023 previously filed on April 24, 2024 (the “Original Filing”):

 

In Note 11 to the consolidated financial statements included in the Original Filing, certain amounts included in a table were presented with four or five digits after the “,” thousand separators due to integer duplication. These amounts are corrected within Note 11 in this Form 20-F/A, and the Consent of Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm has been filed in this Amendment No. 1.

 

As required by Rule 12b-15 of the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, we are also filing or furnishing the certifications required under Section 302 and Section 906 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 as exhibits to this Amendment No. 1.

 

This Amendment No. 1 does not affect any other parts of, or exhibits to, the Original Filing, nor does it reflect events occurring after the date of the Original Filing.

 

This Form 20-F/A is filed in its entirety. Other disclosures in this Amendment No. 1 are included for the convenience of the reader only and no other content has been updated from the Original Filing.

 

 

CONVENTIONS THAT APPLY TO THIS ANNUAL REPORT ON FORM 20-F

 

Unless otherwise indicated and except where the context otherwise requires:

 

 

“active user” refers to a user, calculated based on device identification, that has accessed one of our mobile browsers, PC browsers or other applications at least once during a given period. A unique user that is active in more than one of the applications on our platform is counted as more than one active user;

 

 

“ADS” refers to an American depositary share in Opera, trading on Nasdaq under the ticker symbol “OPRA”, each of which representing two ordinary shares in Opera Limited;

 

 

“AI” refers to artificial intelligence and “AIGC” refers to artificial intelligence generated content;

   

 

 

“ARPU” refers to average revenue per user;

 

 

“China” or “PRC” refers to the People’s Republic of China, excluding, for the purpose of this annual report only, Taiwan and the special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau;

 

 

“EEA” refers to the European Economic Area consisting of the 27 countries of the European Union plus Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland;

 

 

“IFRS® Accounting Standards” refers to International Financial Reporting Standards as issued by the International Accounting Standards Board;

 

 

“Kunlun” refers to Kunlun Tech Co., Ltd., unless otherwise indicated;

 

 

“LLMs” refers to large language models;

   

 

 

“MAUs” or “monthly active users” refers to the average number of active users of any month (within a given period), calculated as of its final day using a 30-day lookback window;

 

 

“Nasdaq” refers to the Nasdaq Stock Market LLC;

 

 

“PC” means computers running versions of the operating systems Windows, Linux or macOS;

   

 

 

“principal shareholders” refer to the principal shareholders named in this annual report;

 

 

“shares” or “ordinary shares” refers to our ordinary shares, par value $0.0001 per share;

 

 

“SEC” refers to the United States Securities and Exchange Commission;

 

 

“US$,” “U.S. Dollars,” “$” and “dollars” refer to the legal currency of the United States; and

 

 

“we,” “us,” “our company,” “the Group,” “our group,” “our” or “Opera” refers to Opera Limited, an exempt company incorporated under the laws of the Cayman Islands with limited liability that is the holding company of our group.

 

All discrepancies in any table between the amounts identified as total amounts and the sum of the amounts listed therein are due to rounding.

 

 

FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

 

This annual report contains forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties. All statements other than statements of current or historical facts are forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are made under the “safe harbor” provision under Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, or the Exchange Act, and as defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors, including those listed under “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors,” that may cause our actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from those expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements.

 

In some cases, you can identify these forward-looking statements by words or phrases such as “may,” “will,” “expect,” “anticipate,” “aim,” “estimate,” “intend,” “plan,” “believe,” “likely to” or other similar expressions. We have based these forward-looking statements largely on our current expectations and projections about future events and financial trends that we believe may affect our financial condition, results of operations, business strategy and financial needs. These forward-looking statements include statements about:

 

 

our goals and strategies;

 

 

our expected development and launch, and market acceptance, of our products and services;

 

 

our future business development, financial condition and results of operations;

 

 

the expected growth in, and market size of, the global internet industry;

 

 

expected changes in our revenues, costs or expenditures;

 

 

our expectations regarding demand for and market acceptance of our brand, platforms and services;

 

 

our expectations regarding growth in our user base and level of engagement, including MAUs;

 

 

our ability to attract, retain and monetize users;

 

 

our ability to continue to develop new technologies and/or upgrade our existing technologies;

 

 

growth of, and trends of, competition in our industry;

 

 

government policies and regulations relating to our industry and the geographic markets in which we have business operations; and

 

 

general economic and business conditions in the markets where we have businesses.

 

You should read this annual report and the documents that we refer to in this annual report with the understanding that our actual future results may be materially different from, and worse than, what we expect. Other sections of this annual report include additional factors which could adversely impact our business and financial performance. Moreover, we operate in an evolving environment. New risk factors and uncertainties emerge from time to time, and it is not possible for our management to predict all risk factors and uncertainties, nor can we assess the impact of all factors on our business or the extent to which any factor, or combination of factors, may cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in any forward-looking statements. We qualify all of our forward-looking statements by these cautionary statements.

 

You should not rely upon forward-looking statements as predictions of future events. The forward-looking statements made in this annual report relate only to events or information as of the date on which the statements are made in this annual report. Except as required by law, we undertake no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

 

This annual report also contains statistical data and estimates that we obtained from industry publications and reports generated by government or third-party providers of market intelligence. Although we have not independently verified the data, we believe that the publications and reports are reliable. However, the statistical data and estimates in these publications and reports are based on a number of assumptions and if any one or more of the assumptions underlying the market data are later found to be incorrect, actual results may differ from the projections based on these assumptions. In addition, due to the rapidly evolving nature of the online content consumption and e-commerce industries, projections or estimates about our business and financial prospects involve significant risks and uncertainties.

 

 

PART I

 

Item 1. Identity of Directors, Senior Management and Advisers

 

Not applicable.

 

Item 2. Offer Statistics and Expected Timetable

 

Not applicable.

 

Item 3. Key Information

 

A.           [Reserved]

 

B.           Capitalization and Indebtedness

 

Not applicable.

 

C.           Reasons for the Offer and Use of Proceeds

 

Not applicable.

 

D.           Risk Factors

 

There is a high degree of risk associated with our company and business. You should carefully consider the risks described below, together with all of the other information in this annual report on Form 20-F. The risks described below are not the only risks facing us. Additional risks and uncertainties not currently known to us or that we currently deem to be immaterial may also materially and adversely affect our business operations. If any of the following risks occur, our business, operating results and financial condition could be materially adversely affected and the trading price of our ADSs could decline.

 

Summary of Risk Factors

 

Below is a summary of certain material risks we face, organized under relevant headings.

 

Risks Related to Our Business and Industry

 

 

We may fail to maintain or grow the size of our user base or the level of engagement of our users.

 

 

We face intense competition in a number of spaces and industries and if we do not continue to innovate and provide products and services that meet the needs of our users, we may not remain competitive.

   

 

 

Potential issues raised by the use of AI technologies in our products and services may result in reputational harm or liability, adversely affecting our business, financial condition, and operating results.

 

 

We may fail to keep up with rapid changes in technologies and mobile devices.

 

 

We may not succeed in managing or expanding our business across the expansive and diverse markets that we operate in.

 

 

The impact of worldwide economic conditions may adversely affect our business, operating results, and financial condition.

 

 

We plan to continue expanding our operations globally to markets where we have limited operating experience, which may subject us to increased business, economic and regulatory risks.

 

 

Direct and indirect impacts of the war in Ukraine are highly unpredictable, could be significant, and may have an adverse effect on our business, operations and our future financial performance.

 

 

 

We may need additional capital to expand our businesses but may not be able to obtain it on favorable terms or at all.

 

 

Our business depends on a strong brand and reputation, and we may not be able to maintain and enhance our brand or reputation or there may be negative publicity against us.

 

 

We are subject to risks related to litigation, including intellectual property claims and regulatory disputes.

 

 

Our investments in new businesses, new products, services and technologies and companies are inherently risky and could disrupt our ongoing businesses.

 

Risks Related to Our Technology and Intellectual Property.

 

 

We may fail to maintain or improve our technology infrastructure.

 

 

We may not be able to prevent others from unauthorized use of our intellectual property or brands.

 

 

Some of our applications contain open source software, which may pose increased risk to our proprietary software.

 

 

We have been and expect to continue to be subject to intellectual property infringement claims, which could be time consuming and costly to defend, and may require us to pay significant damages or cease offering any of our products or key features of our products.

 

 

We do not have exclusive rights to certain technology, trademarks and designs that are crucial to our business.

 

 

Privacy concerns relating to our services and the use of user information could negatively impact our user base or user engagement, or subject us to governmental regulation and other legal obligations.

 

 

We are exposed to cyber-attacks, data breaches, internal employee and other insider misconduct, computer viruses, physical and electronic break-ins and similar disruptions that may adversely impact our ability to protect the confidential information of our users and borrowers.

 

Risks Related to Our Suppliers and Partners.

 

 

A small number of business partners contribute a significant portion of our revenues.

 

 

We rely on our users’ web searches within Opera browsers for a substantial portion of our revenues.

 

 

Our existing business and our expansion strategy depend on certain key collaborative arrangements, and we may be unable to maintain or develop these relationships.

 

Risks Related to Our Internal Controls and Reporting.

 

 

Our user metrics and other operational metrics are subject to inherent challenges in measuring our operations.

 

 

Events outside our control may prevent us from timely meeting our reporting obligations.

 

 

If we fail to implement and maintain effective internal control over financial reporting, we may be unable to accurately report our results of operations, meet our reporting obligations or prevent fraud.

 

Risks related to our ADS.

 

 

If securities or industry analysts do not publish research or reports about our business, or if they adversely change their recommendations regarding the ADSs, the market price for the ADSs and trading volume could decline.

 

 

Your ability to achieve a return on your investment will depend on the combination of future dividend payments and the price appreciation of the ADSs.

 

 

As a “controlled company” under the rules of the Nasdaq, we may be exempt from certain corporate governance requirements that could adversely affect our public shareholders.

 

 

We are a foreign private issuer within the meaning of the rules under the Exchange Act, and as such we are exempt from certain provisions applicable to United States domestic public companies.

 

 

Risks Related to Our Business and Industry

 

We may fail to maintain or grow the size of our user base or the level of engagement of our users.

 

The size, geographical composition and engagement level of our user base are critical to our success. Our business and financial performance have been and will continue to be significantly affected by our success in adding, retaining and engaging active users. We continue to invest significant resources to grow our user base and increase user engagement, whether through innovations, providing new or improved products or services, marketing efforts or other means. We cannot assure you that our user base and engagement levels will grow at satisfactory rates, or at all. Our user numbers and engagement could be adversely affected if:

 

 

we fail to maintain the popularity of our products and services among users;

 

 

we are unable to continue to develop products that work with a variety of mobile operating systems, networks and smartphones;

 

 

we are unable to maintain the quality of our existing products and services;

 

 

we are unsuccessful in innovating or introducing new, best-in-class products and services;

 

 

we fail to adapt to changes in user preferences, market trends or advancements in technology;

 

 

we are unsuccessful with cross-selling new products and services to our existing user base;

 

 

our partners who provide content for Opera News, GX Games or our other platforms do not create content that is engaging, useful, or relevant to users;

 

 

our partners who provide content for our platforms decide not to renew agreements or not to devote their resources to creating engaging content;

 

 

our global distribution partners decide not to distribute our software on their products or platforms or impose adverse new restrictions or requirements for distribution on their products or platforms;

 

 

we fail to provide adequate service to users or partners;

 

 

technical or other problems prevent us from delivering our products or services in a timely and reliable manner or otherwise affect the user experience;

 

 

there are user concerns related to privacy, safety, security or other factors;

 

 

there are adverse changes to our products that are mandated by, or that we elect to make to address, legislation, regulation or litigation, including settlements or consent decrees;

 

 

we fail to maintain the brand image of our products, or our reputation is damaged; or

 

 

there are unexpected changes to the demographic trends, political, regulatory or economic development in the markets that we compete in.

 

Our efforts to avoid or address any of these events could require us to incur substantial expenditures to modify or adapt our products, services or platforms. If we fail to retain or continue growing our user base, or if our users reduce their engagement with our platforms, our business, financial condition and results of operations could be materially and adversely affected.

 

We face intense competition in a number of spaces and industries and if we do not continue to innovate and provide products and services that meet the needs of our users, we may not remain competitive.

 

We face intense competition in all of the products and services we offer. In the browser space, we generally compete with other global browser developers, including companies such as Google (Chrome), Apple (Safari), Microsoft (Edge) and Samsung, which have distributional or other advantages on their respective hardware or software platforms. We also compete with other regional internet companies that have strong positions in particular countries. From time to time, we have to compete with smaller, independent browser companies such as Mozilla Firefox, Brave, Avast, Yandex, DuckDuckGo and UC Web as well for those users who want to choose an alternative browser for their devices in addition to their respective default browsers. In the advertising space, we compete with other global internet companies which operate advertising platforms and audience extension products, such as those offered by Meta, ByteDance and Alphabet for both inventory and advertisers. In the content space, we have faced significant competition from other internet companies promoting their own content products and services globally, including Alphabet, Apple and Meta, and traditional media such as local and global newspapers and magazines. Unlike some other large competitors in the content space, we have historically focused on emerging markets, and have integrated unique content to users via our evolving AI-powered content discovery and recommendation platform. However, as we increasingly focus on more developed markets, we also compete with digital media properties and other AI based news offerings platforms. 

 

 

In addition, we compete with all major internet companies for user attention and advertising spend. Moreover, in emerging markets, where certain mobile devices lack large storage capabilities, we may compete with other applications for the limited space available on users’ mobile devices. As we introduce new products, as our existing products evolve, or as other companies introduce new products and services, we may become subject to additional competition. For example, we launched an initial set of generative AI tools in our PC flagship browser in March 2023, gradually expanding to other mobile and PC browsers, and deploying additional tools, such as our Aria browser AI, during 2023. We also launched MiniPay, a new non-custodial stablecoin wallet built on the Celo blockchain, in September 2023. While we view our new products as extensions of Opera’s existing product portfolio, adding new products and services subjects us to new competitors and enhanced competition from our current competitors.

 

Many of our current and potential competitors have significantly greater resources and broader global recognition, and occupy better competitive positions in certain markets or on certain platforms than we do. These factors may allow our competitors to respond to new or emerging technologies and changes in market requirements better than we can. Our competitors may also develop products, features or services that are similar to ours or that achieve greater market acceptance. These products, features and services may undertake more far-reaching and successful product development efforts or marketing campaigns, or may adopt more aggressive pricing policies. In addition, our partners may use information that we share with them to develop or work with competitors to develop products or features that compete with us. Certain competitors, including Apple, Meta, Microsoft, Samsung and Alphabet, could use strong or dominant positions on their respective platforms or in one or more markets to gain competitive advantages against us in areas where we operate, including by:

 

 

integrating competing features into products they control such as web browsers or mobile device operating systems;

 

 

making acquisitions for similar or complementary products or services; or

 

 

impeding Opera’s accessibility and usability by modifying or imposing use restrictions on existing hardware and software on which the Opera applications operate or upon which they depend.

 

As a result, our competitors may acquire and engage users at the expense of our user base or engagement, which may seriously harm our business.

 

We believe that our ability to compete effectively depends on a number of factors, many of which are beyond our control, including:

 

 

the usefulness, novelty, performance and reliability of our products compared to our competitors;

 

 

the number and demographics of our monthly active users, or MAUs;

 

 

the timing and market acceptance of our products, including developments and enhancements of our competitors’ products;

 

 

our ability to monetize our products;

 

 

the effectiveness of our marketing activities and our marketing and distribution teams;

 

 

our ability to establish and maintain partners’ interest in using Opera;

 

 

the frequency, relative prominence and type of advertisements displayed on our applications or by our competitors;

 

 

the effectiveness of our customer service and support efforts;

 

 

our ability to innovate and remain at the forefront of emerging technologies and related market trends;

 

 

changes as a result of legislation, regulatory authorities or litigation, including settlements and consent decrees, some of which may have a disproportionate effect on us;

 

 

acquisitions or consolidation within the industries in which we operate;

 

 

our ability to attract, retain and motivate talented employees, particularly engineers and sales personnel;

 

 

our ability to cost-effectively manage and scale our rapidly growing operations; and

 

 

our reputation and brand strength relative to our competitors.

 

If we cannot effectively compete, our user engagement may decrease, which could make us less attractive to users, advertisers and partners and seriously harm our business.

 

 

Potential issues raised by the use of AI technologies in our products and services may result in reputational harm or liability, adversely affecting our business, financial condition, and operating results.

 

In January 2017, we launched the Opera News service, which is our AI-powered personalized news discovery and aggregation service. In June 2023, we redesigned and reengineered our flagship PC browser into Opera One, a browser with a new modular design and AI at its core with the Aria browser AI, which is built on our own Composer AI engine that can tap into multiple LLMs, as well as providing live results from the web. In February 2024, we deployed a new AI cluster in Iceland, which features an NVIDIA DGX SuperPOD equipped with advanced GPUs and AI enterprise software platform and powered entirely by green energy, and will support the growth of our browsers and form the base of our future AI services. As with many developing technologies, AI technologies present risks and challenges that could affect its further development, adoption, and use, and therefore our business. Our products and services based on AI may not be adopted by our users or customers. In addition, AI algorithms may be flawed. Datasets may be insufficient or contain biased information, and our algorithms could produce discriminatory or unexpected results or behaviors. Inappropriate or controversial data could impair the acceptance of our AI solutions and harm our reputation, business, customers, or stakeholders. Moreover, AI generated content may result in copyright and other legal issues and our AI generated content may not be able to compete against that of our competitors. These deficiencies could undermine the decisions, predictions, or analysis that our AI technologies produce, subjecting us to legal liability, and brand or reputational harm. Some AI scenarios also present ethical issues. If we enable or offer AI solutions that are controversial because of their purported or actual impact on human rights, privacy, employment, or other social or political issues, we may experience brand or reputational harm, adversely affecting our business and operating results. Furthermore, evolving rules, regulations, and industry standards governing AI may require us to expend significant resources to modify, maintain, or align our business practices or products to comply with rules and regulations of different jurisdictions in which we operate, the nature of which cannot be determined at this time. Several jurisdictions around the globe, including the European Union and certain U.S. states, have already proposed or enacted laws governing AI. For example, U.S. federal agencies are likely to release AI regulations in the near future in light of the Biden administration’s October 30, 2023 Executive Order on AI. The regulatory environment surrounding the impact of the implementation of AI on our products and services may adversely affect our ability to produce products and provide services and as a result may cause harm to our reputation and financial liability.

 

We may fail to keep up with rapid changes in technologies and mobile devices.

 

The PC and mobile internet industry is characterized by rapid technological changes. Our future success will depend on our ability to respond to rapidly changing technologies, adapt our services to evolving industry standards and improve the performance and reliability of our products and services. Our failure to adapt to such changes could harm our business. In addition, changes in mobile devices resulting from technological development may also adversely affect our business. If we are slow to develop new products and services for the latest mobile devices, or if the products and services we develop are not widely accepted and used by mobile device users, we may not be able to capture a significant share of this increasingly important market. In addition, the widespread adoption of new internet, mobile, networking or telecommunications technologies or other technological changes could require substantial expenditures to modify or adapt our products, services or infrastructure. If we fail to keep up with rapid technological changes to remain competitive, our future success may be adversely affected.

 

We may not succeed in managing or expanding our business across the expansive and diverse markets that we operate in.

 

Our business has become increasingly complex as we have expanded the markets in which we operate, the variety of products and services we offer and the overall scale of our operations. We have expanded and expect to continue to expand our headcount, office facilities and infrastructure. As our operations continue to expand, our technology infrastructure systems and corporate functions will need to be scaled to support our operations, and if they fail to do so, it could negatively affect our business, financial condition and results of operations, and our ability to provide accurate and timely information.

 

The markets where we operate are diverse and fragmented, with varying levels of economic and infrastructure development and distinct legal and regulatory systems, and do not operate seamlessly across borders as a single or common market. Managing our growing businesses across these emerging markets requires considerable management attention and resources. Entering into new markets also involves various legal and regulatory risks and requires us to obtain various licenses and permits. We cannot assure you that we will be able to maintain, renew or obtain such licenses or permits on commercially reasonable terms or at all. We may incur additional compliance costs and may be subject to regulatory action or be ordered to cease our operations in certain markets if we fail to maintain, renew or obtain any material license or permit. Should we choose to expand into additional markets, these complexities and challenges could further increase. Because each market presents its own unique challenges, the scalability of our business is dependent on our ability to tailor our content and services to this diversity.

 

Our growing multi-market operations also require that we incur certain additional costs, including costs relating to staffing, logistics, intellectual property licensing or protection, tariffs and other trade barriers. Moreover, we may become subject to risks associated with:

 

 

recruiting and retaining talented and capable management and employees in various markets;

 

 

challenges caused by distance, language and cultural differences;

 

 

providing content and services that appeal to the tastes and preferences of users in multiple markets;

 

 

implementing our businesses in a manner that complies with local laws and practices, which may differ significantly from market to market;

 

 

maintaining adequate internal and accounting control in subsidiaries across various markets;

 

 

currency exchange rate fluctuations;

 

 

protectionist laws and business practices;

 

 

complex local tax regimes. Digital business models in general are under significant scrutiny from tax authorities around the world, given the considerable complexity that these can bring on a cross-border basis, particularly when there may be no physical presence involved;

 

 

potential political, economic and social instability;

 

 

potential local government initiatives to restrict access to our products and services; and

 

Any of the foregoing could negatively affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

 

 

The impact of worldwide economic conditions may adversely affect our business, operating results, and financial condition.

 

Our financial performance is subject to worldwide economic conditions, including adverse economic conditions caused by inflation, changes in interest rates and tighter credit, geopolitical conflicts such as the war in Ukraine or Gaza, currency fluctuations and supply chain disruptions, and their impact on levels of advertising spending. Advertiser expenditures are negatively impacted by overall economic conditions, and reductions in advertising spending could have a material adverse impact on our business, operating results, and financial condition.

 

We are currently operating during a period of economic uncertainty and cannot predict the timing, strength, or duration of economic downturns. To the extent general macroeconomic conditions remain uncertain or worsen, our business may be harmed. Inflation has the potential to adversely affect our liquidity, business, operating results, and financial condition by increasing our overall cost structure, particularly if we are unable to achieve commensurate increases in the prices we charge our customers. The existence of inflation in the economy has resulted in, and may continue to result in, higher interest rates and capital costs, increased costs of labor, fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates, and other similar effects. As a result of inflation, we have experienced, and may continue to experience, cost increases, which could materially and adversely affect our business, operating results, and financial condition.

 

We plan to continue expanding our operations globally to markets where we have limited operating experience, which may subject us to increased business, economic and regulatory risks.

 

We plan to continue expanding our business operations globally, entering into new markets where we have limited or no experience in marketing, selling and deploying current and future products and services. If we fail to deploy or manage our operations in international markets successfully, our business may suffer. In the future, as our international operations increase, or more of our revenue and expenses are generated or denominated in currencies other than the U.S. dollar, our operating results may become more sensitive to fluctuations in the exchange rates of various currencies relative to the U.S. dollar. In addition, we are subject to a variety of risks inherent in doing business internationally, including:

 

 

political, social and economic instability;

 

 

risks related to the legal and regulatory environment in foreign jurisdictions, including with respect to privacy, localization and content laws as well as unexpected changes in laws, regulatory requirements and enforcement due to the wide discretion given local lawmakers and regulators regarding the enactment, interpretation and implementation of local regulations;

 

 

potential damage to our brand and reputation due to compliance with local laws, including potential censorship and requirements to provide user information to local authorities;

 

 

fluctuations in currency exchange rates;

 

 

higher levels of credit risk and payment fraud;

 

 

complying with multiple tax jurisdictions;

 

 

enhanced difficulties of integrating any foreign acquisitions;

 

 

complying with a variety of foreign laws, including certain employment laws requiring national collective bargaining agreements that set minimum salaries, benefits, working conditions and termination requirements;

 

 

reduced protection for our intellectual property rights in some countries and/or heightened protection for intellectual property rights of content providers in other countries;

 

 

difficulties in staffing and managing global operations and the travel, infrastructure and compliance costs associated with multiple international locations;

 

 

regulations that might add difficulties in repatriating cash earned outside our core markets and otherwise preventing us from freely moving cash;

 

 

import and export restrictions and changes in trade regulation;

 

 

complying with statutory equity requirements;

 

 

complying with the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the U.K. Bribery Act and similar laws in other jurisdictions, such as Norway; and

 

 

complying with export controls and economic sanctions administered by the relevant local authorities, including in the United States and European Union, in our international business.

 

If we are unable to expand internationally and manage the complexity of our global operations successfully, our business could be seriously harmed.

 

Direct and indirect impacts of the war in Ukraine are highly unpredictable, could be significant, and may have an adverse effect on our business, operations and our future financial performance.

 

The Russian Federation initiated a full-scale military invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022, precipitating a humanitarian crisis. This ongoing military conflict has provoked strong reactions from the United States, the United Kingdom, the European Union and various other countries around the world, including the imposition of export control, control on distribution of online content and other broad financial and economic sanctions against Russia, which may have far-reaching effects on the global economy. While the precise effects of the ongoing military conflict and the retaliatory measures that have been taken, or could be taken in the future, remain uncertain, they have already resulted in significant volatility in financial markets and rises in energy and commodity prices globally, and created worldwide security concerns that could have a lasting impact on regional and global economies.

 

 

The macroeconomic impacts on our business continue to evolve and be unpredictable and may continue to adversely affect our business, operations and financial performance. Examples of potential impacts of the war in Ukraine on our business include changes in our user base as a result of our inability to operate our products in affected countries, reduced demand affecting our advertising and search revenues, increased compliance costs and business limitations from export controls or economic sanctions, as well as broader fluctuations in exchange rates that may directly and indirectly affect our global revenue and costs as presented in U.S. Dollars. For example, on December 16, 2022, the European Union adopted new economic sanctions, or the December 2022 EU Sanctions, prohibiting the provision of “advertising services” to legal persons, entities or bodies established in Russia, and therefore we have subsequently terminated all advertising contracts with customers in Russia among other actions. For additional details, see “Item 4. Information on the Company — B. Business Overview – Regulations – European Economic Sanctions.”

 

Revenue generated from customers and monetization partners domiciled in Russia accounted for 6.1%, or $20.3 million, of our revenue in 2022 and 5.2%, or $20.7 million, of our revenue in 2023. A substantial portion of these amounts in both 2022 and 2023 were search revenues from our business partner, Yandex LLC, or Yandex. With respect to these search revenues, Yandex generates advertising revenues primarily in Russian Rubles, and pays us a revenue share converted at prevailing exchange rates to U.S. Dollars. Although our transactions with Yandex relating to search distribution are not at present subject to any export control or economic sanction against Russia, and we have terminated all advertising contracts with customers in Russia in response to the December 2022 EU Sanctions, there is no assurance that broader sanctions will not be in place in the future, which may adversely affect our relationship with our business partners as well as our revenue related to Russia. Moreover, on February 5, 2024, Yandex’s US listed parent company, namely Yandex N.V., announced that it had reached a binding agreement to sell certain of its core businesses, including its search business, to a consortium of buyers. Yandex N.V. reported that the sale will be in full compliance with international sanctions and that no member of the consortium of buyers is the target of blocking sanctions in the U.S., European Union, U.K. or Switzerland. However, we cannot assure you that our cooperation with Yandex will not ultimately be impacted by such a restructuring.

 

We estimate that approximately 9.9% of our revenue in 2022, and 5.7% of our revenue in 2023, was generated based on monetizing the portion of our user base in Russia. As a result of the scale of the ongoing crisis and the speed at which the global community has been impacted, our revenue growth rate and expense as a percentage of our revenues, and our operating results, may fall below expectations in future periods.

 

We may need additional capital to expand our businesses but may not be able to obtain it on favorable terms or at all.

 

While we believe we have sufficient capital to fund our current growth plans, we may require additional capital in order to fund future plans for the additional growth and development of our businesses and any additional investments or acquisitions we may decide to pursue. If our cash resources are insufficient to satisfy our cash requirements, we may seek to issue additional equity or debt securities or obtain new or expanded credit facilities. Our ability to obtain external financing in the future is subject to a variety of uncertainties, including inflation and changes in interest rates, geopolitical conflict, our future financial condition, results of operations, cash flows, share price performance, liquidity of international capital and lending markets and governmental regulations in the markets that we operate in. In addition, incurring indebtedness would subject us to increased debt service obligations and could result in operating and financing covenants that would restrict our operations. There can be no assurance that financing will be available in a timely manner or in amounts or on terms acceptable to us, or at all. Any failure to raise needed funds on terms favorable to us, or at all, could severely restrict our liquidity as well as have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. Moreover, any issuance of equity or equity-linked securities could result in significant dilution to our existing shareholders.

 

Our business depends on a strong brand and reputation, and we may not be able to maintain and enhance our brand or reputation or there may be negative publicity against us.

 

We believe that our “Opera” brand and our reputation have contributed significantly to the success of our business. We also believe that maintaining and enhancing the “Opera” brand and our reputation are critical to our success in the future. As our markets become increasingly competitive, our success in maintaining and enhancing our brand and reputation will depend largely on our ability to remain a leading provider of browsers, AI-powered news feeds, gaming solutions and other products and services, which may become more expensive and challenging.

 

We consistently conduct marketing and brand promotion efforts and over the years have increased related spending. However, we cannot assure you that our marketing and brand promotion activities in the future will achieve the expected brand promotion effect to acquire users in a cost-effective way. If we fail to maintain and further promote the “Opera” brand or our reputation, or if we incur excessive expenses in this effort, our business and results of operations may be materially and adversely affected.

 

We are subject to risks related to litigation, including intellectual property claims and regulatory disputes.

 

We may be, and in some instances have been, subject to claims, lawsuits (including class actions and individual lawsuits), government investigations and other proceedings relating to intellectual property, consumer protection, privacy, labor and employment, import and export practices, competition, securities, tax, marketing and communications practices, commercial disputes and other matters. For example, we and certain of our directors and officers were named as defendants in a putative class action filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York: Brown v. Opera Limited et al., Case No. 20 cv 674 (S.D.N.Y.), which was dismissed with prejudice in April 2021. The number and significance of our legal disputes and inquiries have increased as our products and services have grown in complexity and as our business has expanded in scope and geographic reach. For instance, we are currently attempting to enforce an U.K. court judgment against a non-paying customer in Kenya. This customer has also filed a lawsuit against us in Kenya, which we believe lacks substantial merit. While we have obtained the judgment for the full amount in the U.K., we have been advised to record a bad debt provision, as there are uncertainties regarding our ability to successfully enforce the judgment and collect the full amount in Kenya.

 

As a public company, we have an elevated public profile, which may result in increased litigation and public awareness of such litigation. Further, there is substantial uncertainty regarding the scope and application of many of the laws and regulations to which we are subject, which increases the risk that we will be subject to claims alleging violations of those laws and regulations. Many of these laws and regulations are subject to change and uncertain interpretation, and could result in investigations, claims, changes to our business practices, increased cost of operations and declines in our user base, retention or engagement, any of which could seriously harm our business. In the future, we may also be accused of having, or be found to have, infringed or violated third party intellectual property rights.

 

Regardless of the outcome, legal proceedings can have a material and adverse impact on us due to their costs, diversion of our resources and other factors. We may decide to settle legal disputes on terms that are unfavorable to us. Furthermore, if any litigation to which we are a party is resolved adversely, we may be subject to an unfavorable judgment that we may not choose to appeal or that may not be reversed upon appeal. We may have to seek a license to continue practices found to be in violation of a third party’s rights. If we are required, or choose to enter into, royalty or licensing arrangements, such arrangements may not be available on reasonable terms, or at all, and may significantly increase our operating costs and expenses. As a result, we may also be required to develop or procure alternative non-infringing technology or discontinue the use of technology, and doing so could require significant effort and expense, or may not be feasible. In addition, the terms of any settlement or judgment in connection with any legal claims, lawsuits or proceedings may require us to cease some or all of our operations, or pay substantial amounts to the other party and could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

 

 

Our investments in new businesses, new products, services and technologies and companies are inherently risky and could disrupt our ongoing businesses.

 

We have invested and expect to continue to invest in new businesses, products, services and technologies. For example, we launched the GX Games portal in November 2021, a premium Opera VPN Pro offering in April 2022, and our MiniPay stablecoin wallet in September 2023. Throughout 2023 we have launched a variety of generative AI tools and services including our Aria browser AI, and in February 2024, we announced our deployment of a new AI data cluster in Iceland featuring a NVIDIA DGX SuperPOD to serve as the basis for additional future AI services. We may pursue additional opportunities in or relating to gaming, AI, Web3 and blockchain technologies in the future. We have limited historical experience in most aspects of the operation of our new initiatives, which makes it difficult to evaluate our future prospects. We intend to promote our new product and service offerings to our existing user base, and the success of such cross promotional efforts is uncertain. Moreover, we may not be able to obtain the regulatory approvals, permits or licenses as may be required for all of our desired initiatives. Failure to manage or grow our initiatives may have material adverse effects on our overall financial position and results of operations.

 

We have also invested in promising companies. Since 2017, we have invested in OPay, a leading mobile wallet and payment services company that first launched in Nigeria. In 2018 and 2020, we acquired minority interests in Star Group Interactive Inc., or Star X (formerly known as StarMaker), and NanoCred Cayman Co. Limited, or Nanobank, respectively, and sold all of our equity interests in these two companies in 2022 to focus on our core businesses. Our investments and acquired assets or businesses may not generate the financial results we expect. They could result in occurrence of significant investments and goodwill impairment charges, amortization expenses for other intangible assets and credit losses on receivables. See "— We may be required to recognize impairment charges." Changes to the valuation of our remaining investee, OPay, may also impact our financial results, depending on the way in which we account for our investment. Should the estimated fair value decrease, our financial results will be adversely affected. Moreover, general operational risks, such as inadequate or failing internal control of an investee, may also expose our investments to risks beyond our control. See “Item 4. Information on the Company — B. Business Overview – Our Investments,” “Item 5. Operating and Financial Review and Prospects —A. Operating Results—Major Factors Affecting Our Results of Operations— Our Ability to Conduct and Manage Strategic Investments and Acquisitions” and Note 12 to our consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this annual report for additional information regarding our investments. 

 

We may fail to attract, motivate and retain the key members of our management team or other experienced and capable employees.

 

Our future success is significantly dependent upon the continued service of our executives and other key employees. If we lose the services of a key member of management or any key personnel, we may not be able to locate a suitable or qualified replacement and we may incur additional expenses to recruit and train a replacement, which could severely disrupt our business and growth.

 

To maintain and grow our business, we will need to identify, hire, develop, motivate and retain highly skilled employees. Identifying, recruiting, training, integrating and retaining qualified individuals requires significant time, expense and attention. In addition, from time to time, there may be changes in our management team that may be disruptive to our business. We may also be subject to local hiring restrictions in certain markets, particularly in connection with the hiring of foreign employees, which may affect the flexibility of our management team. If our management team, including any new hires that we make, fail to work together effectively and execute our plans and strategies, or if we are not able to recruit and retain employees effectively, our ability to achieve our strategic objectives will be adversely affected and our business and growth prospects will be harmed.

 

Competition for highly skilled personnel is intense, including in the markets where our business operations are located. We may need to invest significant amounts of cash and equity to attract and retain new employees and we may not be able to realize returns on these investments.

 

We may be the subject of anti-competitive, harassing or other detrimental conduct that could harm our reputation and cause us to lose users and customers.

 

We may be the target of anti-competitive, harassing, or other detrimental conduct by third parties. Allegations, directly or indirectly against us or any of our executive officers, may be posted in internet chatrooms or on blogs or websites by anyone, whether or not related to us, on an anonymous basis. The availability of information on social media platforms and devices is virtually immediate, as is its impact. Social media platforms and devices immediately publish the content their subscribers and participants post, often without filters or checks on the accuracy of the content posted. Information posted may be inaccurate and adverse to us, and it may harm our business, prospects or financial performance. The harm may be immediate without affording us an opportunity for redress or correction. In addition, such conduct may include complaints, anonymous or otherwise, to regulatory agencies. We may be subject to regulatory investigations as a result of such third-party conduct and may be required to expend significant time and incur substantial costs to address such third party conduct, and there is no assurance that we will be able to conclusively refute each of the allegations within a reasonable period of time, or at all. Additionally, our reputation could be harmed as a result of the public dissemination of anonymous allegations or malicious statements about our business, which in turn may cause us to lose users and customers and adversely affect the price of our ADSs.

 

If we fail to detect online advertising fraud, we could lose the confidence of our partners and our revenues could decline.

 

Like others in our industry, our business is exposed to the risk of various forms of online advertising fraud perpetrated by bad actors to generate traffic that does not represent genuine user interest or intent. We seek to detect and prevent such invalid traffic and expect our marketing and advertising partners to do the same. We and our partners, however, have been unable and may continue to be unable to detect and prevent all such abuses. If we and our partners fail to detect significant online advertising fraud associated with our marketing campaigns or advertising campaigns in our or third-party inventory on our platforms, which reduces the competitiveness of Opera Ads and advertisers’ willingness to advertise on our platforms, our revenues may be negatively affected. For example, affected advertisers may experience a reduced return on their investment in advertising on our platforms and advertisers or publishers may lose confidence in the integrity of our systems. If this happens, our revenues from such monetization partners may decline.

 

 

We face risks related to natural disasters, health epidemics or terrorist attacks, which could significantly disrupt our operations.

 

Our business could be adversely affected by natural disasters, such as earthquakes, floods, landslides, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, outbreaks of health epidemics, as well as terrorist attacks, other acts of violence or war or social instability. If any of these occurs, we may be required to temporarily or permanently close our facilities, and our business operations may be suspended or terminated. For example, in early 2020, COVID-19 impacted market and economic conditions globally, resulting in the implementation of significant governmental measures to control the spread of COVID-19 as well as changes in our user behavior and the businesses of our monetization partners. Thus, our future operating and financial results may fluctuate substantially or fall below the expectations of securities analysts and investors. In such events, the trading price of our ADSs may fluctuate significantly. If any such situation persists, the global economy may be severely harmed and disrupted, which could adversely affect our results of operation.

 

We have limited business insurance coverage.

 

Our business insurance is limited. Any uninsured damage to our platforms, technology infrastructures or disruption of our business operations could require us to incur substantial costs and divert our resources, which could have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

 

Our results of operations are subject to seasonal fluctuations due to a number of factors.

 

We are subject to seasonality and other fluctuations in our business. For example, revenues from our e-commerce and travel partners are typically affected by seasonality due to various holidays that may result in higher than usual e-commerce transactions and travel-related activities, and similar seasonal trends may affect revenues from our search partners. We may not yet have sufficient historical information to accurately anticipate seasonal or other fluctuations in our newer business areas. Historical patterns of seasonality may in any case be less relevant under current macroeconomic conditions as the ongoing impacts of rising inflation and interest rate, supply chain disruptions, and geopolitical conflicts such as the wars in Ukraine or Gaza may alter seasonal trends.

 

Fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates will affect our financial results, which we report in U.S. Dollars.

 

We operate in multiple jurisdictions, which exposes us to the effects of fluctuations in currency exchange rates. Most of our revenue is denominated in the U.S. Dollar and Euro, while operating expenses are incurred in a wider specter of currencies, including the Norwegian krone, Chinese renminbi, Polish zloty, Swedish krona, British pound, and the Euro. The functional currency of revenue-generating entities in the Group is primarily the U.S. dollar. We typically have currency exchange exposure also in cases of global partners, even as such partners typically make payments to us in a major international currency like the U.S. Dollar, as the underlying activity upon which our revenue is calculated, may be based on such local currencies as observed and collected by our partners prior to converting to the currency in which we are paid, and in many cases this currency exposure is less visible to us. Fluctuations in the exchange rates between the various currencies that we use or are exposed to could result in expenses being higher and revenue being lower than would be the case if exchange rates were stable. We cannot assure you that movements in foreign currency exchange rates will not have a material adverse effect on our results of operations in future periods. We do not generally enter into hedging contracts to limit our exposure to fluctuations in the value of the currencies that our businesses use.

 

We may not achieve the intended tax efficiencies of our corporate structure and intercompany arrangements, which could increase our worldwide effective tax rate.

 

Our corporate structure and intercompany arrangements, including the manner in which we conduct our intercompany and related party transactions, are intended to provide us with worldwide tax efficiencies. The application of tax laws of various jurisdictions to our business activities is subject to interpretation and also depends on our ability to operate our business in a manner consistent with our corporate structure and intercompany arrangements. The tax authorities of jurisdictions where we operate may challenge our methodologies for intercompany and related party arrangements, including transfer pricing, or determine that the manner in which we operate does not achieve the intended tax consequences, which could increase our worldwide effective tax rate and adversely affect our financial position and results of operations.

 

A certain degree of judgment is required in evaluating our tax positions and determining our provision for income taxes. In the ordinary course of business, there are many transactions and calculations for which the ultimate tax determination is uncertain. For example, our effective tax rate, expressed as the percentage of income tax expenses to profit before income taxes, was 37.0% in 2022, as compared to 0.1% in 2021 and 4.2% in 2023, respectively. Our effective tax rate could be adversely affected by lower than anticipated earnings in markets where we have lower statutory rates and higher than anticipated earnings in markets where we have higher statutory rates, inability to fully utilize tax assets recognized on our balance sheet, by changes in foreign currency exchange rates or by changes in the relevant tax, accounting and other laws, regulations, principles and interpretations. Any of these factors could materially and adversely affect our financial position and results of operations.

 

The value of our other intangible assets relates directly to the value of crypto assets we held, the value of which may be highly volatile and subject to fluctuations.

 

The value of our other intangible assets relates directly to the value of crypto assets we held and fluctuations in the price of crypto assets could adversely affect the value of our other intangible assets. As of December 31, 2023, our other intangible assets include holdings of mainly Celo units and other crypto assets with a total carrying amount of $2.0 million. As we may pursue additional opportunities in or relating to Web3 and blockchain technologies in the future, our holding of crypto assets may increase from time to time. For example, as part of a strategic partnership agreement entered into in 2023 with AP Grant Foundation Company, an entity promoting the Celo platform, we have committed to purchasing Celo units for $250 thousand per quarter until the first quarter of 2026 with a contractual lockup requiring us to hold the Celo for one year from the date of purchase.

 

Our other intangible assets are tested annually for impairment, or more frequently if events or changes in circumstances indicate that they might be impaired. See Note 10 to our consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this annual report for more information. The market price of crypto assets may be highly volatile, and subject to a number of factors, leading to greater volatility that could adversely affect the value of our other intangible assets. In addition, there is no assurance that crypto assets will maintain their values in the long or intermediate term. We may from time to time convert the crypto assets into cash. In the event that the price of the crypto assets declines, we may have a loss during the conversion and may have relevant impairment loss proportionately when the crypto assets are tested for impairment. See “— We may be required to recognize impairment charges.” As a result, our quarterly results may suffer and our financial condition for any giving period may also be negatively affected.

 

 

We may be required to recognize impairment charges.

 

Our goodwill and other intangible assets totaled $429.9 million and $99.1 million, respectively, as of December 31, 2023, predominantly relating to our acquisition of Opera Norway AS and its subsidiaries in 2016. We also had property and equipment with a carrying amount of $16.1 million as of December 31, 2023. Intangible assets, including goodwill, and property and equipment, are tested for impairment when there are indicators that the assets might be impaired. In assessing whether there are indicators of impairment, we consider both external and internal sources of information, including losses of key customers, unfavorable changes in technology or competition and unfavorable changes in user base or user testes. Irrespective of any indicators, intangible assets with indefinite useful lives and goodwill are tested annually for impairment. In 2023, we recognized an impairment loss of $0.7 million related to certain non-core intangible assets, while in 2022, we recognized an impairment loss of $3.2 million related to certain non-core intangible assets.

 

We also have investments in ordinary and preferred shares in OPay and ordinary shares in Fjord Bank. The shares are measured at fair value through profit or loss. While we recognized an unrealized gain in 2023 of $89.8 million on our shares in OPay, we may recognize losses in future periods if the estimated fair value of the shares decreases. Moreover, since estimates of fair value are based on significant unobservable inputs, they are subject to estimation uncertainty. Furthermore, we have committed to the pro-rata return of Series C shares in OPay that we received in early 2023 in connection with OPay’s acquisition of Nanobank’s Asian business in the event the cumulative financial performance over 2023 and 2024 for the acquired business falls short of a certain target. As of December 31, 2023, the estimated fair value of the shares subject to these provisions was $95.8 million. See Notes 1, 11 and 12 to our consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this annual report for additional information.

 

Based upon future economic and financial market conditions, the operating performance of our reporting units and other factors, including those listed above, future impairment charges could be incurred. It is possible that such impairment, if required, could be material. Any future impairment charges that we are required to record could have a material adverse impact on our results of operations.

 

Risks Related to Our Technology and Intellectual Property

 

We may fail to maintain or improve our technology infrastructure.

 

We are constantly upgrading our technology to provide improved performance, increased scale and better integration among our platforms. Adopting new technologies, upgrading our internet ecosystem infrastructure, as well as maintaining and improving our technology infrastructure require significant investments of time and resources, including adding new hardware, updating software and recruiting and training new engineering personnel. For example, in February 2024, we announced our deployment of a new AI data cluster in Iceland featuring our investment in a NVIDIA DGX SuperPOD. Adverse consequences from the failure to continue to make such investments may include unanticipated system disruptions, security breaches, computer virus attacks, slower response times, decreased user satisfaction and delays in reporting accurate operating and financial information. In addition, many of the software and interfaces we use are internally developed and proprietary technology. If we experience problems with the functionality and effectiveness of our software or platforms, or are unable to maintain and constantly improve our technology infrastructure to handle our business needs and ensure a consistent and acceptable level of service for our users, our business, financial condition, results of operation and prospects, as well as our reputation, could be materially and adversely affected.

 

We may not be able to prevent others from unauthorized use of our intellectual property or brands.

 

We regard our patents, copyrights, trademarks, trade secrets, and other intellectual property as critical to our business. Unauthorized use of our intellectual property by third parties may adversely affect our business and reputation. We rely on a combination of intellectual property laws and contractual arrangements to protect our proprietary rights. It is often difficult to register, maintain and enforce intellectual property rights in the markets where we operate. For example, statutory laws and regulations are subject to judicial interpretation and enforcement and may not be applied consistently due to the lack of clear guidance on statutory interpretation in certain countries in which we operate. In addition, contractual agreements may be breached by counterparties and there may not be adequate remedies available to us for any such breach. Accordingly, we may not be able to effectively protect our intellectual property rights or to enforce our contractual rights. Policing any unauthorized use of our intellectual property is difficult and costly and the steps we have taken may be inadequate to prevent the misappropriation of our intellectual property. In the event that we resort to litigation to enforce our intellectual property rights, such litigation could result in substantial costs and a diversion of our managerial and financial resources. We can provide no assurance that we will prevail in such litigation. In addition, our trade secrets may be leaked or otherwise become available to, or be independently discovered by, our competitors.

 

Some of our applications contain open source software, which may pose increased risk to our proprietary software.

 

We use open source software in some of our applications, including our Opera browsers which incorporate Chromium browser technology, and we will use open source software in the future. We are supportive of the open source community, and we regularly engage with open source software communities and release internal software projects under open source licenses and anticipate continuing to do so in the future. The terms of many open source licenses to which we are subject have not been interpreted by U.S. or foreign courts, and there is a risk that such licenses could be construed in a manner that imposes unanticipated conditions or restrictions on our ability to sell or distribute our applications. Additionally, we may from time to time face threats or claims from third parties claiming ownership of, or demanding release of, the alleged open source software or derivative works we developed using such software, which could include our proprietary source code, or otherwise seeking to enforce the terms of the applicable open source license. These threats or claims could result in litigation and could require us to make our source code freely available, purchase a costly license or cease offering the implicated applications unless and until we can re-engineer them to avoid the alleged infringement. Such a re-engineering process could require significant additional research and development resources, and we may not be able to complete it successfully. In addition to risks related to license requirements, our use of certain open source software may lead to greater risks than use of third party commercial software, as open source licensors generally do not provide warranties or controls on the origin of the software. Additionally, because any software source code we contribute to open source projects is publicly available, our ability to protect our intellectual property rights with respect to such software source code may be limited or lost entirely, and we are unable to prevent our competitors or others from using such contributed software source code. Any of these risks could be difficult to eliminate or manage and, if not addressed, could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

 

 

We have been and expect to continue to be subject to intellectual property infringement claims, which could be time consuming and costly to defend, and may require us to pay significant damages or cease offering any of our products or key features of our products.

 

We cannot be certain that the products, services and intellectual property used in the ordinary course of our business do not or will not infringe valid patents, copyrights or other intellectual property rights held by third parties. We operate platforms, in particular Opera News, which display third party content and through which third party content providers may distribute their content. We cannot assure you that we or such content providers have sufficient rights in all content distributed via our platforms. We have been and expect to continue to be subject to claims or legal proceedings relating to the intellectual property of others in the ordinary course of our business and may in the future be required to pay damages or license fees, or to agree to restrict our activities. In particular, if we are found to have violated the intellectual property rights of others, we may be enjoined from using such intellectual property, may be ordered to pay damages and may incur licensing fees or be forced to develop alternatives. We may incur substantial expense in defending against third party infringement claims, regardless of their merit. Successful infringement claims against us may result in substantial monetary liability or may materially disrupt the conduct of our business by restricting or prohibiting our use of the intellectual property in question.

 

We do not have exclusive rights to certain technology, trademarks and designs that are crucial to our business.

 

We have applied for various patents relating to our business, and evaluate new applications on an ongoing basis. Approvals of our patent applications are subject to determinations by the relevant local authorities that there are no prior rights in the applicable territory. In addition, we have also applied for registrations and/or changes in registrations relating to our Opera logos and other key trademarks to establish and protect our exclusive rights to these trademarks. While we have succeeded in registering the trademarks for most of these marks in our major markets under certain classes, the applications for initial registration, and/or changes in registrations relating to transfers, of some marks and/or of some of trademarks under other classes are still under examination by the relevant local authorities. Approvals of our trademark registration applications, and/or of changes in registrations, are subject to determinations by the relevant local authorities that there are no prior rights in the applicable territories. We cannot assure you that these patent and trademark applications will be approved. Any rejection of these applications could adversely affect our rights to the affected technology, marks and designs. In addition, even if these applications are approved, we cannot assure you that any issued patents or registered trademarks will be sufficient in scope to provide adequate protection of our rights.

 

Privacy concerns relating to our services and the use of user information could negatively impact our user base or user engagement, or subject us to governmental regulation and other legal obligations.

 

We collect certain data from our users (including data considered to be “personal data” under applicable law), which we use for various purposes important to our business. For example, we use such data to better understand and profile our users, to support advertising in Opera’s products, and to provide users with personalized news, videos, and other content recommendations. Additionally, we process more limited data to operate Aria, our AI chatbot powered in part by third parties like OpenAI and Google. Further, in the context of Opera Ads, we process and transfer large amounts of data collected through websites, apps, and other services operated by third parties with whom Opera has no direct relationship. Concerns about the collection, use, disclosure or security of personal information and data or other privacy-related matters, even if unfounded, could damage our reputation, cause us to lose users and subject us to regulatory investigations, all of which may adversely affect our business. While we strive to comply with applicable data protection laws and regulations, and to be as clear and transparent as possible in our privacy policies and public statements, any failure or perceived failure to comply with these laws, regulations or policies may result in inquiries and other proceedings or actions against us by government agencies or others, as well as negative publicity and damage to our reputation and brands, each of which could cause us to lose users and have an adverse effect on our business and operating results.

 

Because we store, process and use data, some of which contains personal information, we are subject to complex and evolving laws and regulations across multiple jurisdictions regarding privacy, data protection and other matters.

 

We are subject to a variety of laws and regulations that involve matters central to our business, including user privacy, rights of publicity, data protection, content, intellectual property, distribution, electronic contracts and other communications, competition, protection of minors, consumer protection, taxation and online-payment services. These laws can be particularly restrictive in certain countries, particularly in the European Economic Area, where courts and regulators applying the General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR, have generally favored a strict application of the law, especially where international data transfers, AI, or internet advertising are at issue. For example, in recent years European regulators and courts issued several decisions that are broadly adverse to the internet advertising industry, and showed particular concern about the use of personal data in AI services, including OpenAI’s ChatGPT product. Further, such laws and regulations constantly evolve and many jurisdictions that are significant to our businesses, including Singapore, Nigeria, Kenya, and Brazil have enacted or updated privacy laws, while similar developments are under consideration in India and several states of the U.S. The application and interpretation of these laws and regulations are often uncertain, particularly in the new and rapidly evolving industry in which we operate. Many of these laws and regulations are subject to change and uncertain interpretation, and could result in investigations, claims, changes to our business practices, increased cost of operations and declines in user growth, retention or engagement, any of which could seriously harm our business. See “Item 4. Information on the Company—B. Business Overview—Regulations—Regulations on Data Protection and Information Security and Regulations on Data Projection and Information Security” of this annual report.

 

 

 

We are exposed to cyber-attacks, data breaches, internal employee and other insider misconduct, computer viruses, physical and electronic break-ins and similar disruptions that may adversely impact our ability to protect the confidential information of our users and borrowers.

 

We collect, store and process certain personal and other sensitive data from our users during our daily business operations. The data that we have processed and stored makes us and our external service providers a target and potentially vulnerable to cyber-attacks, computer viruses, physical or electronic break-ins or similar disruptions. Unauthorized parties can and have attempted to gain access to our systems and facilities through various means, including, among others, hacking into the systems or facilities of us or our partners or customers, or attempting to fraudulently induce our employees, partners, customers or others into disclosing usernames, passwords, or other sensitive information, which may in turn be used to access our information technology systems, and we expect such efforts will continue in the future. While we have taken measures to protect the confidential information that we have access to, our security measures could and in some cases have been breached. Moreover, the techniques used to obtain unauthorized, improper or illegal access to our and our external service providers’ systems, our data or customers’ data, disable or degrade service, or sabotage systems are constantly evolving and becoming more sophisticated, may be difficult to detect quickly, and often are not recognized until after they have been launched against a target. We cannot guarantee that our security measures or the security measures of external service providers will prevent all security breaches, intrusions or attacks, as computer circumvention tools and techniques become more advanced. Certain such malicious efforts may be state-sponsored and supported by significant financial and technological resources, making them even more difficult to detect and prevent. Cybersecurity threats may also be amplified by improper use of AI in addition to other related technologies, which may further increase our exposure to security breaches, intrusions or attacks and other cybersecurity risks, as attackers harness its capabilities to launch more complex, automated, and targeted attacks and may require us to spend additional resources to further strengthen our defenses against such threats. In addition, cybersecurity organizations in many countries have published warnings of increased cybersecurity threats to businesses, and external events, like the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, may increase the likelihood of cybersecurity attacks. We and our customers, suppliers and partners may be subject to retaliatory cyberattacks perpetrated by Russia or others at their direction in response to economic sanctions and other actions taken against Russia as a result of its invasion of Ukraine. Any failure or security breach of information systems or data could result in a violation of applicable privacy and other laws, significant legal and financial exposure, damage to our reputation or a loss of confidence in our security measures, which could also adversely affect our business.

 

Although to date we have not suffered any material costs or disruption to our business caused by any such incident, any future security breach could have a material adverse impact on our users’ willingness to use our services, and our reputation and brands, business operations and financial performance. For more information, see “Item 16K. Cybersecurity – Material Incidents” of this annual report.

 

Malware, viruses, hacking and phishing attacks, spamming and improper or illegal use of our products or services could seriously harm our business and reputation.

 

Malware, viruses, hacking and phishing attacks have become more prevalent in our industry, have occurred on our systems in the past and may occur on our systems in the future. Because of our prominence, we believe that we are an attractive target for these sorts of attacks. In addition, we possess certain personal data from our users as described in our privacy statement. The data that we process and store, while generally limited in scope, may also make us an attractive target for cyber-attacks due to the size of our user base. In some of our businesses we rely on mobile money providers and payment processors to conclude transactions. Such suppliers may hold funds on our behalf and may themselves be attractive targets for these sorts of attacks. Although it is difficult to determine what, if any, harm may directly result from an interruption or attack, any failure to maintain performance, reliability, security and availability of our products and technical infrastructure to the satisfaction of our users may seriously harm our reputation and our ability to retain existing users and attract new users. If these activities increase on our platform, our reputation, user growth and engagement, and operational cost structure could be seriously harmed. Likewise, such failures with respect to our suppliers may harm our reputation or result in a financial loss. For more information, see “Item 16K. Cybersecurity” of this annual report.

 

Our business may be adversely affected by third party software applications or practices that interfere with our receipt of information from, or provision of information to, our users, which may impair the user experience on our platform.

 

Our business may be adversely affected by third party software applications, which may be unintentional or malicious, that make changes to our users’ PCs or mobile devices and interfere with our products and services. These software applications may change the user experience on our platform by hijacking queries, altering or replacing the search results provided by our search engine partners to our users or otherwise interfering with our ability to connect with our users. Such interference can occur without disclosure to or consent from users, and users may associate any resulting negative experience with our products and services. Such software applications are often designed to be difficult to remove, block or disable. Further, software loaded on or added to mobile devices on which our software applications are pre-installed may be incompatible with or interfere with or prevent the operation of such applications, which might deter the owners of such devices from using our services. If we are unable to successfully prevent or limit any such applications or systems that interfere with our products and services, our ability to deliver a high-quality experience or recommend relevant content to our users may be adversely affected.

 

Interruption or failure of our information technology and communications systems may result in reduced user traffic and harm to our reputation and business.

 

Interruption or failure of any of our information technology and communications systems or those of the operators of third party internet properties that we collaborate with could impede or prevent our ability to provide our services. In addition, our operations could be interrupted by natural disasters and other events. Our disaster recovery plan for our servers cannot fully ensure safety in the event of damage from fire, floods, storms, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, power loss, telecommunications failures, hacking and similar events. If any of the foregoing occurs, we may experience a partial or complete system shutdown. Furthermore, our servers, which are hosted at third party internet data centers, are also vulnerable to break-ins, sabotage and vandalism. Some of our systems are not fully redundant, and our disaster recovery planning does not account for all possible scenarios. The occurrence of a natural disaster or a closure of an internet data center by a third-party provider without adequate notice could result in lengthy service interruptions. Any system failure or inadequacy that causes interruptions in the availability of our services, or increases the response time of our services, could have an adverse impact on our user experience and satisfaction, our attractiveness to users and advertisers and future user traffic and advertising on our platform. To improve performance and to prevent disruption of our services, we may have to make substantial investments to deploy additional servers or one or more copies of our internet platforms to mirror our online resources.

 

 

Risks Related to Our Suppliers and Partners

 

A small number of business partners contribute a significant portion of our revenues.

 

A small number of business partners contribute a significant portion of our revenues. For example, our largest business partner, Google, contributed approximately 42.4% of our revenues in 2023, compared to 44.9% in 2022 and 51.3% in 2021. Although we continue efforts to diversify our partner base, we cannot assure you that a limited number of partners will not continue to contribute a significant portion of our revenues for the near future. Consequently, any of the following events may materially and adversely impact our business, results of operations and growth prospects:

 

 

reduction, delay or cancellation of services by our large business partners;

 

 

a significant decrease in the business results or prospects of one of our large business partners;

 

 

failure by one or more of our large business partners to pay for our services; or

 

 

loss of one or more of our significant customers and any failure to identify and acquire additional or replacement partners.

 

Revenue generated from customers and monetization partners domiciled in Ireland accounted for 50.5%, 44.1% and 41.1% in 2021, 2022 and 2023, respectively. In addition, revenue generated from customers and monetization partners domiciled in Singapore accounted for 9.7%, 15.6% and 15.4% in 2021, 2022 and 2023, respectively. Geographic concentration is not necessarily an indication of where user activity occurs as our end users are located across the world but is affected by the geographic concentration of domicile among certain of our primary monetization partners. We are especially exposed to risks related to the economic conditions, regional specific legislation and tax law of the identified countries.

 

We rely on our users web searches within Opera browsers for a substantial portion of our revenues.

 

We share in the revenue generated by search partners when our users conduct searches initiated within the URL bar or search boxes embedded in our PC and mobile browsers. Revenue generated from users’ search activity accounted for 48.6%, 42.3% and 40.9% of our total revenue in 2021, 2022 and 2023, respectively. Traditional search business models may, for example, evolve if AI chatbot powered search experiences become widely adopted. Moreover, our revenue sharing, fee arrangements with these search partners and relationship and cooperation with our search providers are subject to change. For instance, our relationship and cooperation with our search providers may be impacted by any material investigations and restructurings relating to these search providers. For example, in August 2019, Google began receiving civil investigative demands from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) requesting information and documents relating to its prior antitrust investigations and certain aspects of its business. The DOJ and a number of state Attorneys General filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on October 20, 2020 alleging that Google violated U.S. antitrust laws relating to search and search advertising. The trial ended on November 16, 2023 and the case judge has scheduled closing arguments in the case for May 1, 2024. We are not certain to what extent our cooperation with Google will be impacted by such investigations. In addition, on February 5, 2024, Yandex’s US listed parent company (Yandex N.V.) announced that it had reached a binding agreement to sell certain of its core businesses, including its search business, to a consortium of buyers. Yandex N.V. reports that the sale is in full compliance with international sanctions and that no member of the consortium of buyers is the target of blocking sanctions in the U.S., European Union, U.K. or Switzerland. We cannot assure you that our cooperation with Yandex will not ultimately be impacted by such a restructuring.

 

If our search partners reduce or discontinue their spending with us or see reduced monetization, or if we fail to attract new search or advertising partners, or the fees we receive for the traffic we refer to our search partners significantly decrease, our business, financial condition and results of operations could be materially and adversely affected.

 

Our existing business and our expansion strategy depend on certain key collaborative arrangements, and we may be unable to maintain or develop these relationships.

 

Our existing business, and our strategy for developing our business, involve maintaining and developing various types of collaborations with third parties, which provide us with access to additional user traffic, advertising campaigns and inventory, search services, products and technology. For example, our collaboration with Google allows us to provide our global users with high quality search services. We also work with leading device manufacturers and software storefront providers, to ensure cost-efficient and reliable distribution of our products and services. For our Opera Ads in-house advertising platform, we work with a variety of mobile advertising platforms. We formed strong relationships with high profile media and independent content providers to obtain comprehensive news and other content that we can make available to users on our platforms. Moreover, as part of our focus on expanding our AI capabilities, we have key partnerships with leading providers of natural language processing services such as Google and OpenAI.

 

We consider these collaborations to be important to our ability to deliver attractive services, products and content offerings to our users, in order to maintain and expand our user and advertiser bases, and we believe that it will continue to be important for us to develop similar partnerships in the future. Our inability to maintain and grow such relationships could have an adverse impact on our existing business and our growth prospects. In addition, our competitors may establish the same relationships that we have, which would diminish any advantage we might otherwise gain from these relationships.

 

We may fail to maintain and expand our collaborations with third party operators of internet properties.

 

We place promotional links to some of our search engine providers and other partners on our browsers, thereby providing easy access to premier search and other online services for our users and increasing our associated revenues. Moreover, we rely on third party operators of internet properties for auxiliary services. For example, we use a third-party service to store and analyze most of our system data including number of active users, clicks-per-user, impressions, comments, likes, visits, etc. If these third parties decide to stop collaborating with us, our revenues and growth and operations may be adversely affected.

 

We operate platforms, products and services that include third parties over whose actions we have no control.

 

Our browsers integrate online search capabilities from leading international and regional search companies. We cannot be certain that our search partners will provide our users with the search results that they are looking for. Our browsers also contain shortcuts to third party coupons, e-commerce, travel and other businesses and Opera Cashback aggregates offers from third-party e-commerce players. We cannot be certain that the products and services that these third parties provide will be of a sufficiently high quality or that they will accurately represent the products and services in their postings.

 

 

We operate a number of online platforms and portals that collect the digital content of a wide variety of third parties over which we do not exercise control. For example, our GX Games portal provides users with games developed and offered by third-party game developers. Likewise, our Opera News content discovery platform includes third-party content and offers a platform for independent bloggers and journalists to publish their work. Moreover, we integrate third-party messaging and AI chatbot services into our PC browser sidebar and offer our own Aria browser AI which can tap into multiple LLMs supplied by third parties, as well as provide live results from the web. We cannot control the actions of these third parties. Our ability to identify and remove digital content that may be deemed inaccurate, misleading, offensive, socially unacceptable, or that may violate applicable laws in relevant jurisdictions, may be insufficient. If these third-parties were to supply inappropriate content, or not perform their functions to our satisfaction or the satisfaction of our users, even if we may not be legally responsible for their actions, it may damage the reputation of our platform.

 

Further, while we have agreements with each of these third parties, any legal protections we might have in our agreements could be insufficient to compensate us for our losses and may not be able to repair the damage to our reputation.

 

We rely upon third party channels and partners in distributing our products and services.

 

We rely upon a number of third parties for distribution of our products and services to end users. For example, we rely on mobile software application storefronts, including Google Play and Apple’s App Store, as well as various mobile manufacturer app stores, to enable users to download our mobile software applications, and on key mobile device manufacturers to pre-install our mobile software applications on mobile phones prior to sale. The promotion, distribution and operation of our software applications are subject to the standard terms and conditions of these distribution channel providers, which may be broad, poorly tailored to local conditions, and subject to frequent unilateral changes and interpretation by the channel providers. If one or more channel providers halt the distribution of certain of our products and services on their platforms, as they have temporarily done in the past, our business may suffer. There is no guarantee that these distribution channel providers will distribute or continue to support or feature our product offerings. Furthermore, these channel providers may not enforce their standard terms and conditions for application developers consistently or uniformly across all applications and with all application developers, in part because such terms and conditions may not be practical or otherwise appropriate in certain markets. We will continue to be dependent on distribution channel providers, and any changes, bugs, technical or regulatory issues relating to such channel providers, our relationships with these channel providers, or the requirements or interpretation of their terms and conditions or pricing that is to our detriment could adversely impact our business. These may include any changes that degrade the functionality of our offerings, reduce or eliminate our ability to distribute our offerings, give preferential treatment to competitive products, limit our ability to deliver high quality offerings, or impose fees or other charges related to delivering our offerings. Further, if a channel provider believes that we have violated the terms and conditions of its platform, regardless of whether such terms and conditions have a legitimate basis or are practical in a given market, this could result in the channel provider restricting our ability to use their services and adversely affect our product usage and monetization. Furthermore, if any of these distribution channel providers delivers unsatisfactory services, engages in fraudulent action, or is unable or refuses to continue to provide its services to us and our users for any reason, it may materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

 

We rely upon the internet infrastructure, data center providers and telecommunications networks in the markets where we operate.

 

Our business depends on the performance and reliability of the internet infrastructure and contracted data center providers in the markets where we operate. We may not have access to alternative networks or data servers in the event of disruptions or failures of, or other problems with, the relevant internet infrastructure. In addition, the internet infrastructure, especially in the emerging markets where we operate, may not support the demands associated with continued growth in internet usage.

 

We use third party data center providers for the storing of data related to our business. We do not control the operation of these facilities and rely on contracted agreements to employ their use. The owners of the data center facilities have no obligation to renew their agreements with us on commercially reasonable terms, or at all. If we are unable to renew these agreements on commercially reasonable terms, or if one of our data center providers is acquired by another party, we may be required to transfer our servers and other infrastructure to new data center facilities, and we may incur significant costs and possible lengthy service interruptions in connection with doing so. Any changes in third party service levels at our data centers or any errors, defects, disruptions or other performance problems with our browsers or other services could adversely affect our reputation and adversely affect the online browsing experience. If navigation through our browsers is slower than our users expect, users may use our services less, if at all. Interruptions in our services might reduce our revenue, subject us to potential liability or adversely affect our ability to attract advertisers.

 

We also rely on major telecommunications operators in the markets where we operate to provide us with data communications capacity primarily through local telecommunications lines and data centers to host our servers. We and our users may not have access to alternative services in the event of disruptions or failures of, or other problems with, the fixed telecommunications networks of these telecommunications operators, or if such operators otherwise fail to provide such services. Any service interruption could disrupt our operations, subject us to potential liability, or damage our reputation and result in a decrease in our revenue. Furthermore, we have no control over the costs of the services provided by the telecommunications operators to us and our users. If the prices that we pay for telecommunications and internet services rise significantly, our margins could be reduced. In addition, if internet access fees or other charges to internet users increase, our user traffic may decrease, which in turn may cause our revenue to decline.

 

Our business depends on continued and unimpeded access to the internet by us and our users. Internet access providers may be able to restrict, block, degrade or charge for access to certain of our products and services, which could lead to additional expenses and the loss of users and advertisers.

 

Our products and services depend on the ability of our users to access the internet. Currently, this access is provided by companies that have significant market power in the broadband and internet access marketplace, including incumbent telephone companies, cable companies, mobile communications companies and government-owned service providers. Some of these providers have taken, or have stated that they may take measures, including legal actions, that could degrade, disrupt or increase the cost of user access to certain of our products by restricting or prohibiting the use of their infrastructure to support or facilitate our offerings, or by charging increased fees to us or our users to provide our offerings.

 

In addition, in some markets, our products and services may be subject to government-initiated restrictions or blockages. Such interference could result in a loss of existing users and advertisers, and increased costs, and could impair our ability to attract new users and advertisers, thereby harming our revenues and growth.

 

 

Risks Related to Our Internal Controls & Reporting

 

Our user metrics and other operational metrics are subject to inherent challenges in measuring our operations.

 

We regularly review metrics, including our MAUs, to evaluate growth trends, measure our performance and make strategic decisions. These metrics are calculated using internal company data and have not been validated by an independent third party. While these numbers are based on what we believe to be reliable data, there are inherent challenges in measuring how our platforms are used across large populations throughout the regions that we operate in. For example, we typically are not able to distinguish individual users who use multiple applications. Our user metrics are also affected by technology on certain mobile devices that automatically runs in the background of our applications when another phone function is used, and this activity can cause our system to miscount the user metrics associated with such applications.

 

Errors or inaccuracies in our metrics or data could result in incorrect business decisions and inefficiencies. For instance, if a significant understatement or overstatement of active users were to occur, we may expend resources to implement unnecessary business measures or fail to take required actions to remedy an unfavorable trend. Moreover, during the process of upgrading our platform in the past, we have lost certain historical metrics, such as the number of search queries, that we rely on to manage our operations. If partners or investors do not perceive our user, geographic or other operating metrics as accurately representing our user base, or if we discover material inaccuracies in our user, geographic or other operating metrics, our reputation may be seriously harmed.

 

If we fail to implement and maintain effective internal control over financial reporting, we may be unable to accurately report our results of operations, meet our reporting obligations or prevent fraud.

 

As a public company in the United States, we are subject to the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, or the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act requires that we include a report from management on the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting in our annual report on Form 20-F. In connection with the preparation of this annual report, our management concluded that our internal control over financial reporting as of December 31, 2023, was not effective due to the presence of control deficiencies related to internal control over financial reporting. Specifically, we had insufficient competence and capacity to maintain effective internal control across all activities related to financial reporting. Our risk assessment procedures to identify risks of material misstatements, including risks of fraud, were not performed in a timely manner, resulting in the insufficient design, implementation and operation of business and IT general controls to effectively address such risks. Due to ineffective IT general controls, automated controls and controls dependent on these as well as completeness and accuracy of information derived from relevant IT systems were rendered ineffective. Each such area of deficiencies constituted a material weakness in our internal control over financial reporting. While there have been improvements throughout the year, there continued to be insufficient competence and capacity to perform all activities required in a timely manner. Although we are in the process of taking remedial measures to address the deficiencies described above, we cannot assure you that the material weakness will be cured in a timely manner. See “Item 15. Controls and Procedures —B. Management’s Annual Report on Internal Control over Financial Reporting.”

 

Moreover, we may identify additional control deficiencies and we may not be able to conclude on an ongoing basis that we have effective internal control over financial reporting in accordance with Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. If we fail to achieve and maintain an effective internal control environment, we could suffer material misstatements in our financial statements and may fail to meet our reporting obligations, which would likely cause investors to lose confidence in our reported financial information. This could in turn limit our access to capital markets, harm our results of operations, and lead to a decline in the trading price of our ADSs. Additionally, ineffective internal control over financial reporting could expose us to increased risk of fraud or misuse of corporate assets and subject us to potential delisting from the stock exchange on which we list, regulatory investigations and civil or criminal sanctions. We may also be required to restate our financial statements from prior periods.

 

We have incurred and anticipate that we will continue to incur considerable costs, management time and other resources in an effort to comply with Section 404 and other requirements of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. In particular, with effect from the fiscal year ended December 31, 2023, we are no longer an “emerging growth company” as such term is defined in the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act of 2012, or the JOBS Act. A consequence of this is that our independent registered public accounting firm must attest to and report on the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting as of December 31, 2023. Therefore, we have incurred and anticipate that we will incur significant expenses and devote substantial management time and effort toward ensuring compliance with all requirements of Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and other applicable rules and regulations of the SEC.

 

The requirements of being both a public company and a Kunlun subsidiary may strain our resources and divert our managements attention.

 

We have been a public company since 2018. In 2021, Kunlun, a Chinese public company and our largest investor, increased its ownership stake in us beyond 50%, and as a result we became a consolidated subsidiary of Kunlun. As a public company, we are subject to the reporting requirements of the Exchange Act, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, the Dodd-Frank Act and the listing standards of Nasdaq as applicable to a foreign private issuer, which are different in some material respects from those applicable to U.S. domestic issuers. Similarly, as a subsidiary of Kunlun, we are additionally subject to certain of the listing rules of the Shenzhen Stock Exchange and Chinese corporate governance standards. We expect that the requirements of these rules and regulations will increase, both in isolation and in combination, elevating our legal, accounting and financial compliance costs, making some activities more difficult, time consuming and costly, and placing additional requirements on our personnel, systems and resources. As a result, or for other reasons, we may also experience threatened or actual litigation, including by customers, suppliers, competitors, shareholders or other third parties. If such claims are successful, our business and operating results could be harmed, and even if the claims do not result in litigation or are resolved in our favor, these claims, and the time and resources necessary to resolve them, could divert the resources of our management and harm our business and operating results.

 

Industry data, projections and estimates contained in this annual report are inherently uncertain and subject to interpretation. Accordingly, you should not place undue reliance on such information.

 

Certain facts, forecasts and other statistics relating to the industries in which we compete contained in this annual report have been derived from various public data sources and third party industry reports. In deriving the market size of the aforementioned industries and regions, these industry consultants may have adopted different assumptions and estimates, such as the number of internet users. While we generally believe such reports are reliable, we have not independently verified the accuracy or completeness of such information. Such reports may not be prepared on a comparable basis or may not be consistent with other sources.

 

Industry data, projections and estimates are subject to inherent uncertainty as they necessarily require certain assumptions and judgments. Our industry data and market share data should be interpreted in light of the defined geographic markets and defined industries we operate in. Any discrepancy in the interpretation thereof could lead to different industry data, measurements, projections and estimates and result in errors and inaccuracies.

 

 

Risks Related to Our ADSs

 

The trading price of ADSs has been and may continue to be volatile, which could result in substantial losses to investors.

 

The trading price of ADSs can be volatile and fluctuate widely due to factors beyond our control. This may happen because of broad market and industry factors such as but not limited to concerns over the health of the global economy and geopolitical concerns.

 

In addition to market and industry factors, the price and trading volume for the ADSs may be highly volatile for factors specific to our own operations, including the following:

 

 

variations in our announced dividends as well as quarterly or annual revenue, earnings and cash flow;

 

 

announcements of new investments or divestments, acquisitions, strategic partnerships or joint ventures by us or our competitors;

 

 

announcements of new products, services and expansions by us or our competitors;

 

 

changes in financial estimates by securities analysts;

 

 

detrimental adverse publicity about us, our platforms or our industries;

 

 

additions or departures of key personnel;

 

 

short seller reports that make allegations against us or our affiliates, even if unfounded;

 

 

share repurchase activity or sales of additional equity securities;

 

 

potential litigation or regulatory investigations; and

 

 

other risk factors mentioned in this annual report.

 

Any of these factors may result in large and sudden changes in the volume and price at which the ADSs will trade.

 

In the past, class action lawyers have often sought to bring securities class action suits against those companies following periods of instability in the market price of their securities. Such class action suits may divert a significant amount of our management’s attention and other resources from our business and operations and may require us to incur significant expenses to defend the suit, which could harm our results of operations. Any such class action suit, whether or not successful, could harm our reputation and restrict our ability to raise capital in the future. In addition, if a claim is successfully made against us, we may be required to pay significant damages, which could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.

 

If securities or industry analysts do not publish research or reports about our business, or if they adversely change their recommendations regarding the ADSs, the market price for the ADSs and trading volume could decline.

 

The trading market for the ADSs will be influenced by research or reports that industry or securities analysts publish about our business. If one or more analysts who cover us downgrade the ADSs, the market price for the ADSs would likely decline. If one or more of these analysts cease to cover us or fail to regularly publish reports on us, we could lose visibility in the financial markets, which in turn could cause the market price or trading volume for the ADSs to decline.

 

Your ability to achieve a return on your investment will depend on the combination of future dividend payments and the price appreciation of the ADSs.

 

On June 13, 2023, our Board of Directors adopted a recurring semi-annual cash dividend program. Our first and second semi-annual dividends under the program, each being $0.40 per ADS, for holders of Opera’s ordinary shares as well as ADSs, each representing two ordinary shares, have been paid to shareholders of record as of June 30, 2023 and January 3, 2024, in July 2023 and January 2024, respectively. We intend to pay regular semi-annual dividends, with each payment subject to the approval of our Board of Directors and to certain requirements of Cayman Islands law. The form, frequency and amount of future dividends will depend upon our future operations and earnings, capital requirements and surplus, general financial condition, contractual restrictions and other factors that our Board of Directors may deem relevant.

 

Our Board of Directors has complete discretion as to whether to continue, increase, reduce or even cease distributing dividends, subject to certain requirements of Cayman Islands law. In addition, our shareholders may by ordinary resolution declare a dividend, but no dividend may exceed the amount recommended by our directors. Any dividends paid to ADS holders will be paid net of fees and expenses as provided under the deposit agreement.

 

The return on your investment in the ADSs will also likely depend upon any future price appreciation of the ADSs. There is no assurance that the ADSs will appreciate in value or even maintain the price at which you purchased the ADSs. You may not realize a return on your investment in the ADSs and you may even lose your entire investment in the ADSs.

 

 

Kunlun, our parent company, and James Yahui Zhou, our chairman of the board and chief executive officer, have control over our company and their interests may not be aligned with the interests of our other shareholders.

 

As of the date of this annual report, Kunlun, a Chinese public company listed on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange, indirectly owns 72.4% of our issued and outstanding ordinary shares. As such, we are a consolidated subsidiary of Kunlun. In addition, Mr. Zhou, our chairman of the board and chief executive officer, is also a controlling shareholder of Kunlun.

 

As a result of the foregoing, Kunlun and Mr. Zhou have the ability to control or exert significant influence over important corporate matters and investors may be prevented from affecting important corporate matters involving our company that require approval of shareholders, including:

 

 

the composition of our board of directors and, through it, any determinations with respect to our operations, business direction and policies, including the appointment and removal of officers;

 

 

any determinations with respect to mergers or other business combinations;

 

 

our disposition of substantially all of our assets; and

 

 

any change in control.

 

These actions may be taken even if they are opposed by our other shareholders, including the holders of the ADSs. Furthermore, this concentration of ownership may also discourage, delay or prevent a change in control of our company, which could have the dual effect of depriving our shareholders of an opportunity to receive a premium for their shares as part of a sale of our company and reducing the price of the ADSs. As a result of the foregoing, the value of your investment could be materially reduced.

 

In addition, the significant concentration of share ownership may adversely affect the trading price of the ADSs due to investors’ perception that conflicts of interest may exist or arise. For more information regarding our principal shareholders and their affiliated entities, see “Item 6. Directors, Senior Management and Employees—E. Share Ownership.” We have in the past, and likely will continue to enter into related party transactions involving entities directly or indirectly controlled by Kunlun or Mr. Zhou. See “Item 7. Major Shareholders and Related Party Transactions — B. Related Party Transactions” for details. Such related party transactions, while reviewed and approved by our Board’s Audit Committee consisting solely of independent directors, may indirectly benefit Kunlun or Mr. Zhou personally, by virtue of their interest in the related party.

 

As a controlled company under the rules of the Nasdaq, we may be exempt from certain corporate governance requirements that could adversely affect our public shareholders.

 

Due to the shareholding of our chairman and chief executive officer, James Yahui Zhou, and because Kunlun is the beneficial owner of a majority of the voting power of our issued and outstanding share capital, we are qualified as a “controlled company” under the rules of the Nasdaq. Under these rules a company of which more than 50% of the voting power is held by an individual, group or another company is a controlled company and may elect not to comply with certain corporate governance requirements, including the requirement that a majority of our directors be independent, as defined in the Nasdaq rules, and the requirement that our compensation and corporate governance and nominating committees consist entirely of independent directors. We rely on certain corporate governance exemptions as described in Item 16G (Corporate Governance) of this annual report. So long as we remain a controlled company relying on any of such exemptions and during any transition period following the time when we are no longer a controlled company, you would not have the same protections afforded to shareholders of companies that are subject to all of the Nasdaq corporate governance requirements.

 

If a United States person is treated as owning at least 10% of our ADSs or ordinary shares, such person may be subject to adverse United States federal income tax consequences.

 

If a United States person is treated as owning (directly, indirectly or constructively) at least 10% of the value or voting power of our ADSs or ordinary shares, such person may be treated as a “United States shareholder” with respect to each “controlled foreign corporation,” or CFC, in our group. Because our group includes one or more United States subsidiaries that are corporations for United States federal income tax purposes, in certain circumstances, we could be treated as a CFC and certain of our non-United States subsidiary corporations could be treated as CFCs (regardless of whether or not we are treated as a CFC).

 

A United States shareholder of a CFC may be required to annually report and include in its United States taxable income its pro rata share of “subpart F income,” “global intangible low-taxed income” and investments in United States property by CFCs, whether or not we make any distributions. An individual who is a United States shareholder with respect to a CFC generally would not be allowed certain tax deductions or foreign tax credits that would be allowed to a corporation that is a United States shareholder. A failure to comply with these reporting obligations may subject a United States shareholder to significant monetary penalties and may prevent the starting of the statute of limitations with respect to such shareholder’s United States federal income tax return for the year for which reporting was due. We do not intend to monitor whether we are or any of our non-United States subsidiaries is treated as a CFC or whether any investor is treated as a United States shareholder with respect to us or any of our CFC subsidiaries or to furnish to any United States shareholders information that may be necessary to comply with the aforementioned reporting and tax paying obligations. A United States investor should consult its tax advisor regarding the potential application of these rules to its particular circumstances.

 

 

We may be classified as a passive foreign investment company, which could result in adverse United States federal income tax consequences to United States Holders of our ADSs or ordinary shares.

 

We will be a passive foreign investment company, or PFIC, for United States federal income tax purposes for any taxable year if, applying applicable look-through rules, either (i) at least 75% of our gross income for such year is passive income or (ii) at least 50% of the value of our assets (generally determined based on an average of the quarterly values of the assets) during such year is attributable to assets that produce or are held for the production of passive income. A separate determination must be made after the close of each taxable year as to whether we are a PFIC for that year and involves extensive factual investigation, including ascertaining the fair market value of all of our assets on a quarterly basis and the character of each item of income that we earn, and is subject to uncertainty in several respects. Based on the market price of our ADSs, the value of our assets and the nature and composition of our income and assets, we do not believe that we were a PFIC for United States federal income tax purposes for our taxable year ended December 31, 2023, and we do not expect to become a PFIC for our current taxable year, although there can be no assurances in this regard. Moreover, we cannot assure you that the United States Internal Revenue Service, or the IRS, will agree with any position that we take. Accordingly, there can be no assurance that we will not be treated as a PFIC for any taxable year or that the IRS will not take a position contrary to any position that we take.

 

Changes in the nature or composition of our income or assets, including as a result of our investment in new businesses, products, services and technologies, may cause us to be or become a PFIC. In addition, the determination of whether we will be a PFIC for any taxable year may also depend in part upon the value of our goodwill and other unrecorded intangibles not reflected on our balance sheet (which may depend upon the market price of our ADSs or ordinary shares from time to time, which may fluctuate significantly) and also may be affected by if, how, and how quickly, we spend our liquid assets and the cash we generate from our operations and raise in any offering. In estimating the value of our goodwill and other unrecorded intangibles, we have taken into account our market capitalization. Among other matters, if our market capitalization declines, we may be or become a PFIC for the current or future taxable years because our liquid assets and cash (which are for this purpose considered assets that produce passive income) may then represent a greater percentage of the value of our overall assets. Further, while we believe our classification methodology and valuation approach are reasonable, it is possible that the IRS may challenge our classification or valuation of our goodwill and other unrecorded intangibles, which may result in our being or becoming a PFIC for our taxable year ended December 31, 2023, the current taxable year or one or more future taxable years.

 

If we are a PFIC for any taxable year during which a United States Holder (as defined in “Item 10. Additional Information—E. Taxation—United States Federal Income Tax Considerations”) holds our ADSs or ordinary shares, certain adverse United States federal income tax consequences would generally apply to such United States Holder. See “Item 10. Additional Information—E. Taxation—United States Federal Income Tax Considerations—Passive Foreign Investment Company.”

 

Our memorandum and articles of association contain anti-takeover provisions that could have a material adverse effect on the rights of holders of our ordinary shares and the ADSs.

 

Our memorandum and articles of association contain provisions to limit the ability of others to acquire control of our company or cause us to engage in change-of-control transactions. These provisions could have the effect of depriving our shareholders of an opportunity to sell their shares at a premium over prevailing market prices by discouraging third parties from seeking to obtain control of our company in a tender offer or similar transaction. For example, our board of directors has the authority, without further action by our shareholders, to issue preferred shares in one or more series and to fix their designations, powers, preferences, privileges and relative participating, optional or special rights and the qualifications, limitations or restrictions, including dividend rights, conversion rights, voting rights, terms of redemption and liquidation preferences, any or all of which may be greater than the rights associated with our ordinary shares, in the form of ADSs or otherwise. Preferred shares could be issued quickly with terms calculated to delay or prevent a change in control of our company or make removal of management more difficult. If our board of directors decides to issue preferred shares, the price of the ADSs may fall and the voting and other rights of the holders of our ordinary shares and the ADSs may be materially and adversely affected.

 

You may face difficulties in protecting your interests, and your ability to protect your rights through U.S. courts may be limited, because we are incorporated under Cayman Islands law.

 

We are an exempted company limited by shares incorporated under the laws of the Cayman Islands. Our corporate affairs are governed by our memorandum and articles of association, the Companies Act (As Revised) of the Cayman Islands and the common law of the Cayman Islands. The rights of shareholders to take action against the directors, actions by minority shareholders and the fiduciary duties owed by our directors under Cayman Islands law are to a large extent governed by the common law of the Cayman Islands. The common law of the Cayman Islands is derived in part from comparatively limited judicial precedent in the Cayman Islands as well as from the common law of England, the decisions of whose courts are of persuasive authority, but are not binding, on a court in the Cayman Islands. The rights of our shareholders and the fiduciary duties of our directors under Cayman Islands law are not as clearly established as they would be under statutes or judicial precedent in some jurisdictions in the United States. In particular, the Cayman Islands has a less developed body of securities laws than the United States. Some U.S. states, such as Delaware, have more fully developed and judicially interpreted bodies of corporate law than the Cayman Islands. In addition, Cayman Islands companies may not have standing to initiate a shareholder derivative action in a federal court of the United States.

 

Shareholders of Cayman Islands exempted companies like us have no general rights under Cayman Islands law to inspect corporate records (other than such companies’ memorandum and articles of association, any special resolutions and the register of mortgages and charges) or to obtain copies of lists of shareholders of these companies. Under Cayman Islands law, the names of our current directors can be obtained from a search conducted at the Registrar of Companies. Our directors have discretion under our memorandum and articles of association to determine whether or not, and under what conditions, our corporate records may be inspected by our shareholders, but are not obliged to make them available to our shareholders. This may make it more difficult for you to obtain the information needed to establish any facts necessary for a shareholder resolution or to solicit proxies from other shareholders in connection with a proxy contest.

 

Certain corporate governance practices in the Cayman Islands, which is our home country, differ significantly from requirements for companies incorporated in other jurisdictions such as the United States. We rely on certain corporate governance exemptions as described in Item 16G (Corporate Governance) of this annual report which permit us to follow our home country practices. Consequently, our shareholders may be afforded less or different protections than they otherwise would under the rules and regulations applicable to U.S. domestic issuers.

 

As a result of all of the above, public shareholders may have more difficulty in protecting their interests in the face of actions taken by management, members of the board of directors or controlling shareholders than they would as public shareholders of a company incorporated in the United States.

 

 

Certain judgments obtained against us by our shareholders may not be enforceable.

 

We are an exempted company limited by shares incorporated under the laws of the Cayman Islands, and the majority of our assets are located, and the majority of our operations are conducted outside of the United States. In addition, a majority of our current directors and officers are nationals and residents of countries other than the United States. Substantially all of the assets of these persons are located outside the United States. As a result, it may be difficult or impossible for you to bring an action against us or against these individuals in the United States in the event that you believe that your rights have been infringed under the U.S. federal securities laws or otherwise. Even if you are successful in bringing an action of this kind, the laws of the Cayman Islands and of Norway may render you unable to enforce a judgment against our assets or the assets of our directors and officers.

 

With effect from the fiscal year ended December 31, 2023, we are no longer an emerging growth company, and we are not entitled to the exemptions provided by the JOBS Act.

 

With effect from the fiscal year ended December 31, 2023, we are no longer an emerging growth company, as defined in the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act of 2012, or the JOBS Act, and we are not entitled to the exemptions provided by the JOBS Act. In particular, our independent registered public accounting firm must attest to and report on the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting as of December 31, 2023. Therefore, we have incurred and anticipate we will incur significant expenses and devote substantial management time and effort toward ensuring compliance with all requirements of Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and other applicable rules and regulations of the SEC. 

 

As an exempted company incorporated in the Cayman Islands, we are permitted to adopt certain home country practices for corporate governance matters that differ significantly from the Nasdaq corporate governance listing standards; these practices may afford less protection to shareholders than they would enjoy if we complied fully with the corporate governance listing standards.

 

As a Cayman Islands exempted company listed on the Nasdaq Global Select Market, we are subject to Nasdaq corporate governance listing standards which permit a foreign private issuer like us to follow the corporate governance practices of its home country. Certain corporate governance practices in the Cayman Islands, which is our home country, may differ significantly from the Nasdaq corporate governance listing standards. For instance, we are not required to: (i) have a majority of the board be independent; or (ii) have a compensation committee consisting entirely of independent directors. We rely on certain corporate governance exemptions as described in Item 16G (Corporate Governance) of this annual report. To the extent we choose to follow home country practice in the future, our shareholders may be afforded less protection than they would otherwise enjoy under the Nasdaq corporate governance listing standards applicable to U.S. domestic issuers.

 

We are a foreign private issuer within the meaning of the rules under the Exchange Act, and as such we are exempt from certain provisions applicable to United States domestic public companies.

 

Because we are a foreign private issuer under the Exchange Act, we are exempt from certain provisions of the securities rules and regulations in the United States that are applicable to U.S. domestic issuers, including:

 

 

the rules under the Exchange Act requiring the filing of quarterly reports on Form 10-Q or current reports on Form 8-K with the SEC;

 

 

the sections of the Exchange Act regulating the solicitation of proxies, consents or authorizations in respect of a security registered under the Exchange Act;

 

 

the sections of the Exchange Act requiring insiders to file public reports of their stock ownership and trading activities and liability for insiders who profit from trades made in a short period of time; and

 

 

the selective disclosure rules by issuers of material nonpublic information under Regulation FD.

 

We are required to file an annual report on Form 20-F within four months of the end of each fiscal year. In addition, we intend to continue to publish our results on a quarterly basis through press releases, distributed pursuant to the rules and regulations of the Nasdaq. Press releases relating to financial results and material events will also be furnished to the SEC on Form 6-K. However, the information we are required to file with or furnish to the SEC is less extensive and less timely compared to that required to be filed with the SEC by U.S. domestic issuers. As a result, you may not be afforded the same protections or information, which would be made available to you, were you investing in a U.S. domestic issuer.

 

The voting rights of holders of ADSs are limited by the terms of the deposit agreement, and you may not be able to exercise your right to vote with respect to the ordinary shares.

 

As a holder of ADSs, you will only be able to exercise the voting rights with respect to the underlying ordinary shares in accordance with the provisions of the deposit agreement. Under the deposit agreement, you must vote by giving voting instructions to the depositary. Upon receipt of your voting instructions, the depositary will try to vote the underlying ordinary shares in accordance with these instructions. You will not be able to directly exercise your right to vote with respect to the underlying shares unless you withdraw the shares. Under our amended and restated memorandum and articles of association, the minimum notice period required for convening a general meeting is seven days. When a general meeting is convened, you may not receive sufficient advance notice to withdraw the shares underlying your ADSs to allow you to vote with respect to any specific matter. If we ask for your instructions, the depositary will notify you of the upcoming vote and will arrange to deliver our voting materials to you. We cannot assure you that you will receive the voting materials in time to ensure that you can instruct the depositary to vote your shares. In addition, the depositary and its agents are not responsible for failing to carry out voting instructions or for their manner of carrying out your voting instructions. This means that you may not be able to exercise your right to vote and you may have no legal remedy if the shares underlying your ADSs are not voted as you requested.

 

 

ADSs holders may not be entitled to a jury trial with respect to claims arising under the deposit agreement, which could result in less favorable outcomes to the plaintiff(s) in any such action.

 

The deposit agreement governing the ADSs representing our ordinary shares provides that, to the fullest extent permitted by law, ADS holders waive the right to a jury trial for any claim they may have against us or the depositary arising out of or relating to our shares, the ADSs or the deposit agreement, including any claim under the U.S. federal securities laws.

 

If we or the depositary were to oppose a jury trial based on this waiver, the court would have to determine whether the waiver was enforceable based on the facts and circumstances of the case in accordance with applicable state and federal law. To our knowledge, the enforceability of a contractual pre-dispute jury trial waiver in connection with claims arising under the federal securities laws has not been finally adjudicated by the United States Supreme Court. However, we believe that a contractual pre-dispute jury trial waiver provision is generally enforceable, including under the laws of the State of New York, which govern the deposit agreement, or by a federal or state court in the City of New York, which has non-exclusive jurisdiction over matters arising under the deposit agreement. In determining whether to enforce a contractual pre-dispute jury trial waiver, courts will generally consider whether a party knowingly, intelligently and voluntarily waived the right to a jury trial. We believe that this would be the case with respect to the deposit agreement and the ADSs. It is advisable that you consult legal counsel regarding the jury waiver provision before investing in the ADSs.

 

If you or any other holders or beneficial owners of ADSs bring a claim against us or the depositary in connection with matters arising under the deposit agreement or the ADSs, including claims under federal securities laws, you or such other holder or beneficial owner may not be entitled to a jury trial with respect to such claims, which may have the effect of limiting and discouraging lawsuits against us or the depositary. If a lawsuit is brought against us or the depositary under the deposit agreement, it may be heard only by a judge or justice of the applicable trial court, which would be conducted according to different civil procedures and may result in different outcomes than a trial by jury would have, including outcomes that could be less favorable to the plaintiff(s) in any such action.

 

Nevertheless, if this jury trial waiver is not permitted by applicable law, an action could proceed under the terms of the deposit agreement with a jury trial. No condition, stipulation or provision of the deposit agreement or the ADSs serves as a waiver by any holder or beneficial owner of ADSs or by us or the depositary of compliance with any substantive provision of the U.S. federal securities laws and the rules and regulations promulgated thereunder.

 

You may not receive dividends or other distributions on our ordinary shares, and you may not receive any value for them if it is illegal or impractical to make them available to you.

 

The depositary has agreed to pay to you the cash dividends or other distributions it or the custodian receives on the ordinary shares or other deposited securities underlying your ADSs, after deducting its fees and expenses. You will receive these distributions in proportion to the number of ordinary shares your ADSs represent. However, the depositary is not responsible if it decides that it is unlawful or impractical to make a distribution available to any holders of ADSs. For example, it would be unlawful to make a distribution to a holder of ADSs if it consists of securities that require registration under the Securities Act but that are not properly registered or distributed under an applicable exemption from registration. The depositary may also determine that it is not feasible to distribute certain property through the mail. Additionally, the value of certain distributions may be less than the cost of mailing them. In these cases, the depositary may determine not to distribute such property. We have no obligation under U.S. securities laws to register any ADSs, ordinary shares, rights or other securities received through such distributions. We also have no obligation to take any other action to permit the distribution of ADSs, ordinary shares, rights or anything else to holders of ADSs. This means that you may not receive distributions we make on our ordinary shares or any value for them if it is illegal or impractical for us to make them available to you. These restrictions may cause a material decline in the value of the ADSs.

 

You may experience dilution of your holdings due to inability to participate in rights offerings.

 

We may, from time to time, distribute rights to our shareholders, including rights to acquire securities. Under the deposit agreement, the depositary will not distribute rights to holders of ADSs unless the distribution and sale of rights and the securities to which these rights relate are either exempt from registration under the Securities Act with respect to all holders of ADSs, or are registered under the provisions of the Securities Act. The depositary may, but is not required to, attempt to sell these undistributed rights to third parties, and may allow the rights to lapse. We may be unable to establish an exemption from registration under the Securities Act, and we are under no obligation to file a registration statement with respect to these rights or underlying securities or to endeavor to have a registration statement declared effective. Accordingly, holders of ADSs may be unable to participate in our rights offerings and may experience dilution of their holdings as a result.

 

 

Item 4. Information on the Company

 

A.

History and Development of the Company

 

We trace our history back to 1996 and the launch of the first version of our “Opera” branded browser software. We have since been a pioneer in redefining the web browsing experience, providing personalized content discovery platforms and offering gaming services for hundreds of millions of global internet users.

 

Opera Limited is an exempted company with limited liability incorporated in March 2018 in the Cayman Islands. We conduct our business mainly through our operating companies, including in particular Opera Norway AS, a private limited liability company incorporated under the laws of Norway. We acquired Opera Norway AS and its subsidiaries on November 3, 2016, for a consideration of $575.0 million, less working capital adjustments. This acquisition included the business of providing Opera’s mobile and PC web browsers, as well as certain related products and services.

 

We listed our ADSs on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the symbol “OPRA” on July 27, 2018. One ADS corresponds to two underlying shares in Opera Limited. On August 9, 2018, we completed the initial public offering of 9,600,000 ADSs, and the underwriters later exercised their over-allotment option for the purchase of an additional 334,672 ADSs. We also sold 9,999,998 shares, equivalent to 4,999,999 ADSs, in a concurrent private placement and accordingly, our pre-IPO shareholders held 190,250,000 shares, equivalent to 95,125,000 ADSs. Combined, following the IPO, Opera Limited had 220,119,342 shares outstanding, corresponding to 110,059,671 ADSs. On September 24, 2019, we completed a follow-on public offering of an additional 7,500,000 ADSs, and the underwriters later exercised their over-allotment option for the purchase of an additional 1,125,000 ADSs, which was completed on October 16, 2019. On October 4, 2023, we completed a secondary public offering of 6,876,506 ADS, which were sold by a pre-IPO shareholder. As of the date of this annual report, a total of 176,907,896 shares are outstanding, equivalent to 88,453,948 ADSs.

 

Our company is a holding company that does not have substantive operations. We conduct our principal activities through our subsidiaries. Our principal executive offices are located at Vitaminveien 4, 0485 Oslo, Norway. Our telephone number at this address is +47 23 69 24 00. Our principal website is www.opera.com. The information contained on our website is not a part of this annual report.

 

B.

Business Overview

 

Overview

 

Opera is a leading global internet brand with a large, engaged and growing base reaching over 313 million average MAUs in the fourth quarter of 2023. Building on over 28 years of innovation, starting with our browser products, we are leveraging our brand as well as our massive and engaged user base in order to expand our offerings and our business. Today, we offer users around the globe a range of products and services that include a variety of PC and mobile browsers, our Opera Gaming portals and development tools, our Opera News content recommendation products, our audience extension product (namely Opera Ads platform) and a number of Web3 and e-commerce products and services.

 

Opera launched one of the first PC browsers in 1996 and introduced the world’s first full web browser for mobile phones in 2002. Since then, Opera has remained an innovator in the browser space, launching features including tabbed browsing, data savings, PC-mobile sync, and numerous features focused on privacy and security, including ad blocking and a built-in VPN. Continuing to build on this tradition, in 2023 we redesigned and reengineered our flagship PC browser into Opera One and launched generative AI tools including Aria, our browser AI, in our browsers. Today, our browser products include Opera Mini, Opera Browser for Android and iOS, and Opera for Computers, as well as the Opera GX and Opera GX Mobile browsers tailored for gamers. Our browsers had approximately 281 million average MAUs in the fourth quarter of 2023.

 

The browser is an increasingly strategic application—often serving as the access point for content, e-commerce, AI, gaming and fintech activities on the internet, and Opera is utilizing this strategic position to launch and scale new offerings.

 

Opera Gaming, our emerging video game focused division, started with Opera GX, a browser tailored for gamers. We launched our GX browser for PCs in the second quarter of 2019 followed by a mobile version in May 2021. In early 2021, we purchased GameMaker Studio, which allows anyone to develop a video game in a low-code environment. Building on the strength of our GX browser user base and the community of developers using GameMaker Studio, in September 2021, we launched GX Games, a gaming portal which allows gamers to find and play games developed using GameMaker Studio. In the fourth quarter of 2023, Opera GX reached over 24 million MAUs and GX Mobile reached over 4 million MAUs.

 

Opera News, our AI-driven content platform enabled by big data technologies, was launched in 2017, initially as part of our browser and later as a stand-alone app, leveraging our large user base and well-known brand in order to deliver a personalized and relevant content experience at scale. To ensure access to compelling content, Opera News Hub was launched to enable local content creators to publish exclusive content on our platform, which has helped grow engagement on the service by increasing page views and time spent. Since the initial launch of Opera News, we have expanded the platform to offer customized experiences for certain particular verticals, such as football (soccer). Today, Opera News is offered in a number of customizations and under a variety of brands, including Apex. In the fourth quarter of 2023, Opera News had an average of 230 million MAUs, which included 31 million MAUs from standalone news apps.

 

Opera Ads platform, our audience extension product, was launched in 2021 as an online marketing platform that allows our advertising partners to reach an even larger audience than the one offered by Opera’s owned and operated apps and websites.

 

Since 2021, we have offered Web3 and e-commerce products including a premium VPN, and in 2023 we launched our MiniPay stablecoin wallet built on the Celo blockchain.

 

We intend to continue to leverage our brand as well as our large and engaged user base to launch additional consumer facing products in the future.

 

 

Our Products and Users

 

Our products include: (i) Opera Browsers – the web browsers Opera Mini, Opera Browser for Android and iOS, Opera for Computers, and Opera GX for PCs and mobile; (ii) Opera Gaming – which builds on the success of Opera GX with the GX Games gaming portal and the GameMaker Studio 2 video game development engine; (iii) Opera News – the content aggregation and personalized recommendation platform; (iv) Opera Ads – the intelligent online marketing platform; and (v) our Web3 and e-commerce offerings.

 

Our cloud-based technologies enable hundreds of millions of users to discover and interact with the content and services that matter most to them. The application of leading AI-powered technologies and advanced data analytics and the recommendation engine built into our browsers and news apps, and other products and services, give our users a better, faster and more personalized online experience and enable advertisers to target relevant users in a more precise way.

 

Opera Browsers

 

Our PC browsers: Opera for Computers and Opera GX

 

We believe Opera for Computers is one of the most innovative and differentiated PC browsers on the market, catering to the high-end user segment that requires performance and features beyond those offered by the default system browsers on Windows, macOS and variants of Linux. Opera for Computers uses an Opera-tuned version of the Chromium browsing engine carefully optimized for performance metrics such as speed and laptop battery consumption. In addition, we provide users with unique features that are not found in other major web browsers, including a free, built-in VPN service that enhances user privacy and security, especially for laptops on public networks, subject to compliance with relevant local regulatory requirements. The browser also includes a native ad block feature. Our PC browser makes it easier to shop online with built-in currency and foreign unit conversion and makes communication easier by embedding social network services such as Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Instagram, TikTok and X in the browser’s sidebar. In 2023, we continued to add features and functionality to our Opera for Computers offering. In June 2023, we redesigned and reengineered our flagship PC browser into Opera One, a browser with a new modular design, as well as a new, more streamlined architecture based on a multithreaded compositor and the new tab island feature for easier organization of the browser tabs. Most importantly, the Opera One version of our PC browser became our first browser to have AI at its core with the Aria browser AI, which is built on our own Composer AI engine that can tap into multiple LLMs, as well as provide live results from the web.

 

Opera GX, which launched in the second quarter of 2019, is a web browser tailored for gamers. Integrating seamlessly into gamers' broader gaming setups, Opera GX allows PC gamers to customize and tune their browsers to improve their gaming experience. In September 2019, Opera GX won the Red Dot Award in the Interface and User Experience Design category. Features, such as GX Control and embedding Twitch in the browser differentiates Opera GX from Opera for Computers. Opera GX now includes new features such as Aria, Opera’s browser AI, as well as Mods. Mods are modifications of the browser that can change visual themes and provide dynamic music and keyboard sounds, as well as shaders for websites, or animated, live wallpapers that can be created with GameMaker. Since the launch of Mods at the end of March 2023, users have downloaded over 100 million mods from the GX Games portal.

 

We have a large and active global PC browser user base with 79 million average MAUs in the fourth quarter of 2023. Our PC browser user base has historically been prominent in regions that value our innovations in browser technology and more recently in regions where gaming is particularly popular, such as Europe and the Americas.

 

Our Mobile Browsers: Opera Browser for Android, Opera Browser for iOS, Opera GX Mobile and Opera Mini

 

Our mobile browser products currently include Opera Browser for Android and iOS, Opera GX Mobile and Opera Mini. Our mobile browser products are fast and optimized for mobile browsing. All mobile browsers tailored for high-ARPU markets come with our Aria browser AI, integrated VPN and native ad blockers, which provide users with the option to further increase privacy and browser speed by blocking ads that are often slow and intrusive.

 

Launched in 2013, the Opera Browser for Android is our flagship Android smartphone browser. It comes with a full browser engine, based on the Chromium project, and a user-friendly interface designed to give users a fast browsing experience on high-end smartphones. Opera for Android is a powerful and feature-rich browser, optimized for mobile phones with larger screens and tablets. In December 2018, Opera for Android became the first browser to feature an integrated Crypto Wallet, making it easy to use Ethereum-based cryptocurrencies and blockchain powered web applications. The browser also enables users to block annoying cookie dialogs, and in March 2019, the browser became the first major mobile browser to ship with an integrated VPN solution that was later expanded into a paid device-wide VPN. In July 2023, we brought our Aria browser AI to Opera Browser for Android.

 

We launched the iOS version of the Opera Browser in the fourth quarter of 2018, at the time branded as Opera Touch. Opera Browser for iOS is designed for mobile phone users to engage with the browser with one hand while they are on the move. The browser has won both the Red Dot Award in Communication Design 2018 and the iF DESIGN AWARD 2019 for its unique design and usability. Opera for iOS offers a rich feature set including a native ad-blocker, a Crypto Wallet and the Flow syncing feature that enables users to continue browsing across their devices. In March 2021, we rebranded our award-winning iOS browser to Opera. This rebranding marks a new milestone for us; unifying our brand and products across all platforms to offer users a seamless browsing experience on all their devices. In August 2023, we brought our Aria browser AI to Opera for iOS.

 

In May 2021, we announced the launch of Opera GX Mobile – the world’s first mobile browser designed specifically for gamers. Opera GX Mobile users enjoy custom navigation with the Fast Action Button, or FAB, using vibration and haptic feedback. This browser won two Red Dot Awards in the Apps and Mobile UIs category in 2021. Users are also getting the ability to sync mobile and PC experiences through the Flow feature, which enables gamers to share walkthroughs, tutorials and character builds between devices, and getting instant access to GX corner – a unique space on GX Mobile’s home screen featuring the latest gaming news, deals and a game release calendar. Opera GX Mobile also distinguishes itself with a unique gaming-inspired design supporting different color themes.

 

 

First launched in 2006, Opera Mini is a mobile browser that provides a faster browser experience on practically any Android smartphone or feature phone. Through the application of advanced data compression and efficiency technologies, Opera Mini has enabled hundreds of millions of users around the world to access the internet through their mobile devices, providing a reliable browsing experience regardless of their network conditions and compatible with limited hardware specifications. Opera Mini is a cloud-based browser that is fast to install and takes up very little space on users’ mobile phones. When browsing with Opera Mini, the data traffic can go through Opera servers, which compress web pages, including text and images, towards only 10% of their original size, reducing the amount of data that needs to be sent over mobile networks that are often congested. Moreover, the reduced data traffic consumption can provide users with a significantly lower data cost compared to the default browsers found on their phones. In September 2023, we launched MiniPay, a new stablecoin wallet built on the Celo blockchain, integrated into Opera Mini in certain emerging markets. Opera Mini averaged 134 million users worldwide during the fourth quarter of 2023, with over 86 million MAU in its Android version alone. In addition, Opera is one of the most widely used mobile browsers in emerging markets in 2023 according to Statcounter.

 

Our mobile browser user base reached 202 million average MAUs in the fourth quarter of 2023, of which 154 million were smartphone users and 48 million were feature phone users. In 2023, we continued to reduce acquisition spend in low ARPU regions, while reallocating our resources to growing mobile and PC users in high ARPU markets such as North America and Western Europe. This has resulted in a net loss of users in low ARPU markets, while gaining users in high ARPU markets. Our mobile browser user base reached 19 million average MAUs in North America and Europe in the fourth quarter of 2023.

 

Our browser AI Initiative: Aria

 

In 2023, we launched our own native browser AI, Aria – a bold new step in our adoption of AI services. Based on our own “Composer” infrastructure, Aria connects to, for example, OpenAI’s GPT technology and is enhanced by additional capabilities, such as live results from the web. Aria brings users access to a leading generative AI service free of charge. A web and browser expert, Aria lets users collaborate with AI while looking for information on the web, generating text or code, or getting product queries answered.

 

Opera Gaming

 

Building on the success of Opera GX, Opera has developed a community of gamers and game creators. This included creating the Opera Gaming division that provides GameMaker, a 2D gaming development platform. The focus of Opera Gaming is to continue to grow the user base of Opera GX and build increased functionality within and outside the Opera GX browser, using GameMaker.

 

GameMaker provides game creators with a complete set of tools to create games for any platform. In the third quarter of 2021, Opera made it free for creators to develop games with GameMaker and publish those games to GX Games. Numerous product updates brought to GameMaker shaders, graphics filters, audio filters, commitments around long-term version support and initial multiplayer support. In November 2021, we launched GX Games, a portal connecting our Opera GX browser users with the games created by developers using our GameMaker development platform. Developers can publish their games to GX Games directly from GameMaker with a single click. GX Games gives users instant access to over 7,000 games directly from Opera GX. Over 5 million users have created accounts with GX Games. By bringing Opera GX and GameMaker together, the GX Games portal seeks to make creating, sharing and playing games as quick and easy as posting on social media.

 

Opera News

 

Leveraging our massive user base and innovation capability, we launched the Opera News service in January 2017. Opera News is our AI-powered personalized news discovery and aggregation service. The service is featured prominently as part of our browsers, and also made available as a standalone app and website. These apps operate under both the Opera News and Apex brands. By providing AI-powered news and content recommendations, we have increased both user activity and the amount of time users spend in our ecosystem.

 

We use our proprietary AI technologies to curate and intelligently recommend news, articles, videos and other online content that may be of interest to each individual user. Users can conveniently access this content through real-time intelligent ranking, top news and push notification features. Moreover, Opera News utilizes natural language processing and other technologies to quickly process linguistic differences and nuances to assess and recommend online content across different languages and cultures. When using an Opera product powered by our AI recommendation engine, people can efficiently discover, engage with and share online content that appeals to them.

 

We continue to improve Opera News, adding new features and functions for our users as well as improving the attractiveness of the platform for content creators and publishers. In September 2019, we launched Opera News Hub in Nigeria and then expanded to additional markets. The Opera News Hub platform enables content creators to self-publish and monetize their content through our Opera News channels, which has enabled us to increasingly attract local content.

 

Building upon the success of Opera News, we rolled out Apex Football (formerly known as Opera Football) in 2021. This website and related app use the AI technology developed for Opera News, with a filter in place to highlight only the news about a specific vertical, in this case football (soccer). In addition to the filter, Apex Football integrated football news with historical matches/teams/players statistics and a live score stream to serve football fans with not only all-in-one football info portal but also real time match and score notifications. Plus, Apex Football is given a design aesthetic that gives the apps and website a unique look. In 2022, we introduced additional sports verticals including Cricket, Basketball and general sporting news. Furthermore, in 2022 and 2023, Opera embedded a live score feature into our Android browsers and Opera News app allowing users to subscribe and follow their favorite matches and teams from the browser or Opera News app start page.

 

Our Opera News user base reached 230 million average MAUs in the fourth quarter of 2023 across those users that accessed Opera News from Opera browsers and those that accessed it from dedicated Opera News apps or websites. The Opera News apps reached an average of 31 million in MAUs in the fourth quarter of 2023. In light of the strong adoption of Opera News in emerging markets, in 2021, we entered into additional markets in North America and Europe, and we have seen increased revenue contribution from these markets since then. Generally speaking, users in these markets monetize at a significantly higher rate than those in the initial Opera News markets in emerging markets.

 

 

Opera Ads

 

Opera Ads is our in-house advertising platform optimized for serving our owned and operated inventory targeting digital agencies, advertisers and brands to connect and engage directly with Opera users through both programmatic and fully managed advertising campaigns. The Opera Ads offering is an important part of our monetization strategy and it builds on top of our existing search monetization partnerships with third-party companies, such as Google, and partnerships with other monetization partners, such as Amazon. The Opera Ads platform was extended in 2021 with our audience extension service, which connects with partner inventories via real-time bidding, offering our advertising partners an audience extension and incremental reach for their campaigns. As a browser company, we can leverage the closed loop environment of the browser to capture interest and context. While remaining mindful of user privacy, we are able to create value and utility for the user throughout their online journey, unlike many advertising platforms which rely on third party signals and cookies. With the growth of high value users, we are becoming an increasingly relevant partner to even more potential advertisers.

 

Our Web3 and E-Commerce Initiatives

 

Our Web3 Initiatives

 

In 2018, Opera became the first browser to introduce a non-custodial Crypto Wallet inside our browsers, enabling access to a new generation of blockchain-based Web3 applications. This allows users to interact with these applications, send or receive various kinds of cryptocurrencies to sites and users, as well as identify themselves to sites and hold unique digital items from blockchain-based games. As of December 31, 2023, Opera supports the most relevant blockchains including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Polygon and Solana. In addition, we re-built our non-custodial Web3 wallet into a standalone SDK, which is embedded into Opera browser applications. In September 2023, we launched MiniPay, a new stablecoin wallet built on the Celo blockchain and integrated into Opera Mini in certain emerging markets which currently has more than two million activations.

 

Our E-Commerce Initiatives

 

We launched a browser-based cashback offering that provides financial rewards to Opera users for certain online transactions. The Opera cashback rewards program aims to provide Opera’s users with an integrated, seamless, non-intrusive cashback experience inside their browser. The cashback service was initially offered in Spain and then rolled out to Polish users in October 2021. In 2022 and 2023, we continued rolling out Opera cashback services in additional markets including Germany, the United Kingdom, the United States, Mexico and Brazil. Opera cashback features hundreds of shops including brands such as AliExpress, Temu, and Shein. In late 2023, however, we started to scale back certain of our owned and operated cashback initiatives and began to promote third-party tools as a more efficient solution. The use of such third-party tools began in the United States in late 2023 and is expected to expand to additional markets in 2024.

 

Our Partners

 

We partner with companies that benefit from our ability to drive traffic to their services, including search engines, e-commerce and travel providers and digital advertising platforms. Through placement of shortcuts, or “Speed Dials”, and advertisements in our browsers and apps, we have the ability to promote both global and local partners that provide services to our users. These companies pay us either for referring traffic to them or for displaying their advertisements.

 

Search Providers

 

We partner with internet search providers such as Google and Yandex and have worked closely with them for over 20 and 15 years, respectively. These partnerships ensure a native integration of search technology for our users and enhance the visibility of our brand. We share the revenue generated by our search partners when our users conduct searches initiated within the URL bar, default search page or search boxes embedded in our PC and mobile browsers. In 2023, we also started to introduce search entry points into our Aria browser AI experience.

 

We have had a search distribution agreement with Google since 2001. We entered into our current search distribution agreement with Google in 2012 and have extended the term of that agreement multiple times, most recently until December 31, 2024. Our search distribution agreement with Google gives it an option to extend the term by an additional 12-month period. In April 2024, Google exercised that option so the term of that agreement has been extended further to December 31, 2025. We have had a search partner agreement with Yandex since 2007. We entered into our current partner agreement with Yandex in 2012. The initial term of this agreement has been extended several times and now extends until December 2024. Following the initial term, the partner agreement automatically renews for additional two-year periods unless written notice is given by either party at least 30 days prior to the automatic renewal. Our agreements with Google and Yandex are subject to customary events of default, including failure to make payments, material breach, liquidation, as well as other termination trigger events as provided therein.

 

Our relationship and cooperation with our search providers may be impacted by any material investigations and restructurings relating to these search providers. See “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors—Risks Related to Our Internal Controls and Reporting—We rely on our users’ web searches within Opera browsers for a substantial portion of our revenues” of this annual report.

 

 

E-commerce and Online Travel Agencies

 

We work closely with large, global e-commerce and online travel agencies, such as Amazon, eBay, Aliexpress, and Booking.com, as well as strong local brands like Otto, Shopee, Lazada and others. The value of these partnerships continues to rise through increased user engagement with these popular services within our browsers, as well as our audience extension offering.

 

We earn revenue from transactions initiated by our directed users via links provided on our Speed Dial homepage and other advertisements, typically in the form of a defined share of the revenue generated by these service providers.

 

Digital Advertising Platforms

 

We have established relationships with leading digital advertising platforms such as Google AdSense, AdMob by Google, Pangle by ByteDance, Meta Audience Network, and others. We allow these digital advertising platforms to display their advertising demand in our browsers, content apps and websites where we recognize revenue based on the amounts we are entitled to receive from such advertising partners. We also sell selected premium advertising placements, such as roadblock banners, interstitials, videos, sponsored articles and notifications to global and local advertisers.

 

Our Opera Ads platform has a large and continuous focus on audience extension and is able to seamlessly integrate with both Opera's owned and operated inventory and selected premium partner inventories supplied by companies such as Google, AppLovin, Vungle and others. The Opera advertising platform caters to the world's largest advertisers, brands, platforms, agencies, and e-commerce partners across the Americas, Asia, Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. A majority of our customers are operating within gaming, sports, and e-commerce verticals.

 

Content Providers

 

In addition to monetization partners, we have formed strong relationships with high profile media companies, while also focusing on regional and local content providers in key markets in Africa, Europe and the United States. These relationships enable us to obtain comprehensive news and other content that we can make available to users on our platform, provide more publicity for our content provider partners and generate revenues through the placement of advertising within our news service. Further, we are increasingly focused on the creation of exclusive local content through Opera News Hub. We also analyze users’ behavior to improve the relevance of the news stories and advertisements that we show to each user based on their preferences.

 

Marketing & Distribution

 

We partner with ad agencies, influencers, game affiliation networks, device manufacturers, mobile network operators and others to promote and distribute our products. We have long-term relationships with device manufacturers to ensure cost-efficient and reliable distribution benefitting both these distribution partners and us. We partner with mobile network operators in Africa for joint marketing campaigns. These campaigns promote the data saving features of our mobile browsers on our operator partner’s network, while providing free or reduced cost browsing to the consumer for a limited time. In addition, we partner with game affiliation networks to promote Opera GX.

 

Foundational Models

 

Aria, Opera’s browser integrated AI chatbot, is built on top of Opera’s own AI engine which relies on LLMs supplied by third parties such as OpenAI and Google. It is built in a LLM agnostic way that allows any models to be added and used separately or in addition to existing models, including open source models.

 

Technology

 

Technology is key to our success as it enables us to innovate, improve our users’ experience and operate our business more efficiently. Our technology team is composed of highly skilled engineers, computer scientists and technicians whose expertise spans a wide range of areas. As of December 31, 2023, we employed a team of approximately 430 engineering and data analytics personnel, mainly located in Poland, China, Sweden and the United Kingdom, engaging in building our technology platform and developing new Opera products and services in our core businesses as well as newer initiatives such as AI, gaming and Web3.

 

 

Content Recommendation

 

Through AI and AIGC technologies, we have transformed our browsers and other products and services into an AI-powered content discovery and recommendation platform that provides our users with personalized news, audio, videos and other online content. We leverage data from our existing user base and cutting-edge technologies, such as LLMs and AIGC, in natural language processing and computer visioning and deep learning, to develop our AI-powered content discovery and multi-scenario/multi-modal/multi-objective recommendation platform that we integrate into a variety of our products and services. Our AI platform evaluates billions of potentially correlated data points between each item of online content and each individual user to provide personalized content recommendations of high interest to our users in real time.

 

Our key AI technologies for content implement the following powerful features:

 

 

Natural Language Processing. Classical models in natural language processing, or NLP, and deep learning models are used to analyze, sort, extract, classify, process and better understand news content in a variety of languages. Our deep learning models help us to extract key entities, topics and other semantics tags. We can also find connections between top news, celebrities and other news elements, extract timeline and history of important events automatically. With the advance of generative AI, LLMs are also extensively used in our system, from content understanding, topic summarization to content moderation and filtering and result in improved processing capacity and lowered cost.

 

 

Computer Vision for Images and Videos. We analyze the images and videos that are associated with online text to better understand the content and optimize our recommendation engines. Apart from classical Computer Vision models, multi-modal LLMs are also introduced into our AI system: Vision Transformer (ViT) models and Language-Image Pre-Training (CLIP) are used in image understanding and in image-text matching, bringing in improved accuracy.

 

 

Multi-objective/Multi-scenario/Multi-modal/ Personalized Recommendation System. On the basis of the personalized click prediction model (a large-scale deep neural network), we have developed a personalized multi-objective prediction model, which not only predict the click probability of a user to a certain news article, but also predict the reading time and whether the user will like/share the news or subscribe to the author, thereby better reflecting the user's satisfaction with the recommended content. This is a multi-objective neural network model with tens of billions of features, trained in real time based on user interactions. Multi-scenario modeling is used to provide personalized contextual recommendation under different use cases by associating user behavior with contextual information. Multi-modal modeling leverages content in different forms, such as texts, images, videos, etc., to build the correlations and complementarities between different modality data, to enrich reading experience with contents in multimedia.

 

 

Deep Reinforcement Learning Recommendation. By applying the improved version of Deep Deterministic Policy Gradient (DDPG), the machine learning algorithm not only optimizes the reward of the current recommended content, but also optimizes the total reward of a series of user interactions in a session. Such objective function leads to deeper reading interactions and also represents an increase in reading satisfaction.

 

 

Big Data Capabilities. We are able to quickly develop and scale our presence across different geographies, languages and cultures, utilizing our big data capabilities. We have multiple data centers distributed across four continents that support massive petabyte-level distributed data storage and allow us to process in real-time hundreds of terabytes of data related to our users every day. We use data mining and analytics technologies to find patterns in the large amounts of data we collect, which helps us to understand our users and provide them with better content recommendations

 

Cloud Compression Technologies

 

Our compression technologies, Turbo and Opera Binary Markup Language (OBML), are advanced compression technologies that are built into our apps to optimize data traffic and connection times for our users. These technologies allow our browsers to load web pages faster by downloading less data. Today, Turbo is our standard compression mode for high-end smartphones and computers, while OBML, adapted exclusively for Opera Mini, provides an extreme compression mode, which compresses web content by up to 90%, providing a good web browsing experience even on the most limited mobile data networks.

 

Network Infrastructure

 

We have built a reliable and secure network infrastructure that fully supports our operations. Our physical network infrastructure utilizes our data centers that are linked with high-speed networking. We have developed our architecture to work effectively in a dynamic cloud environment that has a high degree of elasticity. Our automatic provisioning tools have enabled us to scale up our storage and computing capacity in a short period of time in response to increasing demand for our services. Our proprietary network application protocols ensure fast and reliable mobile communications under different network conditions in the various markets where we operate. We aim to provide a consistent user experience across different devices, operating systems, carriers and network environments.

 

As of December 31, 2023, we owned approximately 6,136 servers in seven internet data centers located in the Netherlands (two locations), the United States, Singapore, Canada, South Africa and Nigeria. As of December 31, 2023, our data centers had a total connectivity bandwidth of 1.16 Tbps max throughput, 240 Gbps daily peak.

 

In addition, in February 2024, we announced our deployment of a new AI data cluster in Iceland featuring a NVIDIA DGX SuperPOD to serve as the basis for additional future AI services. The cluster contains H100 AI computation cards and is capable of delivering xFLOPs of computing power.

 

 

Our Investments

 

Our business includes non-controlling investments in other companies.

 

OPay Limited, or OPay, an investee in which we currently hold a 9.4% ownership interest, is a mobile payment fintech company that focuses on emerging markets, with Nigeria and Egypt as initial key markets. OPay provides online and offline payments, and digital wallet services leveraging AI, big data and other fintech innovations, thus helping countries in emerging regions transform into cashless societies.

 

nHorizon Innovation (Beijing) Software Ltd., or nHorizon Innovation, is an associate in which we have a 29.1% ownership interest. nHorizon Innovation generates income from the licensing of intellectual property, predominantly from nHorizon Infinite (Beijing) Software Limited, or nHorizon Infinite, which was our joint venture until mid-2023. nHorizon Infinite is focused on supporting Chinese app developers monetize their apps internationally through advertising.

 

AB Fjord Bank”, or Fjord Bank, an investee in which we have a 4.9% ownership interest, operates as a licensed specialized bank and has launched operations with an online offering which includes fixed deposits and consumer lending business in the Lithuanian market.

 

User Privacy and Safety

 

The vitality and integrity of our user base is the cornerstone of our business. We dedicate significant resources to the goal of strengthening our user base through developing and implementing programs designed to protect user privacy, promote a safe environment, and ensure the security of user data. We also implement unique features in our products and services to protect users’ online digital presence, such as a free, no-log VPN service, a premium, paid VPN service for enhanced protection, native ad blocking and anti-tracking options.

 

Our privacy statements seek to describe our data use practices and how privacy works on our platforms in a user-friendly manner. We provide users with adequate notice as to what data is being collected and undertake to manage and use the data collected in accordance with applicable laws. We consider the protection of the personal privacy of each of our users to be of paramount importance.

 

We continuously strive to prevent unauthorized use, loss or leak of user data. In addition, we use a variety of technical and organizational measures to protect the data with which we are entrusted, including encryption of personal data at rest and in transit, and, for our external interfaces, we also utilize demilitarized zones and firewalls to protect against potential attacks or unauthorized access. We have privacy and security teams dedicated to the ongoing review and monitoring of data protection practices, including penetration testing, auditing, and carrying out data privacy impact assessments.

 

Product Marketing and Distribution

 

For the majority of our products and services, the main source of new users is brand awareness of our products and the “word-of-mouth” from our large user base. The trust and reliance that our users place in us is a key growth driver of our business, since prospective users that hear positive feedback from their friends and colleagues about our products and services are more likely to try them. We have run influencer marketing campaigns to raise awareness and gain trust and mind-share among key target demographics. We also run promotional campaigns around global events, such as the World Cup tournament, to further engage users and drive adoption.

 

In 2023, organic installs were our most important channel for new user acquisition, representing approximately 74% of our new smartphone users. In parallel, we cooperate with industry partners to promote our products. See “Item 7. Major Shareholders and Related Party Transactions—B. Related Party Transactions.” In 2023, approximately 12% of new smartphone users originated from our paid online promotions.

 

Our products are available through our official website, www.opera.com, as well as Google Play, Apple’s App Store, and other online app marketplaces.

 

 

Competition

 

We face intense competition in all of the products and services we offer. In the browser space, we generally compete with other global browser developers, including companies such as Google (Chrome), Apple (Safari), Microsoft (Edge) and Samsung, which have distributional or other advantages on their respective hardware or software platforms. We also compete with other regional internet companies that have strong positions in particular countries. From time to time, we have to compete with smaller, independent browser companies such as Mozilla Firefox, Brave, Avast, Yandex, DuckDuckGo and UC Web as well for those users who want to choose an alternative browser for their devices in addition to their respective default browsers. In the advertising space, we compete with other global internet companies which operate advertising platforms and audience extension products, such as those offered by Meta, ByteDance and Alphabet for both inventory and advertisers. In the content space, we have faced significant competition from other internet companies promoting their own content products and services globally, including Alphabet, Apple and Meta, and traditional media such as local and global newspapers and magazines. Unlike some other large competitors in the content space, we have historically focused on emerging markets, and have integrated unique content to users via our evolving AI-powered content discovery and recommendation platform. However, as we increasingly focus on more developed markets, we also compete with digital media properties and other AI based news offerings platforms.

 

In addition, we compete with all major internet companies for user attention and advertising spend. Moreover, in emerging markets, where certain mobile devices lack large storage capabilities, we may compete with other applications for the limited space available on users’ mobile devices. As we introduce new products, as our existing products evolve, or as other companies introduce new products and services, we may become subject to additional competition. For example, we launched an initial set of generative AI tools in our PC flagship browser in March 2023, gradually expanding to other mobile and PC browsers, and deploying additional tools, such as our Aria browser AI, during 2023. We also launched MiniPay, a new stablecoin wallet built on the Celo blockchain, in September 2023. While we view our new products as extensions of Opera’s existing product portfolio, adding new products and services subjects us to new competitors and enhanced competition from our current competitors.

 

See “Item 3. Key Information —D. Risk Factors—Risks Related to Our Business and Industry—We face intense competition in a number of spaces and industries and if we do not continue to innovate and provide products and services that meet the needs of our users, we may not remain competitive.”

 

Seasonality

 

See “Item 3. Key Information —D. Risk Factors— Risks Related to Our Business and Industry—Our results of operations are subject to seasonal fluctuations due to a number of factors.”

 

Intellectual Property

 

We regard our patents, copyrights, service marks, trademarks, trade secrets and other intellectual properties as critical to our success. We rely on patents, trademarks, copyrights and trade secret protection, as well as non-competition, confidentiality, and license agreements with our employees, customers, partners and others to protect our intellectual property rights. Despite our precautions, it may be possible for third parties to obtain and use our intellectual properties without authorization. Furthermore, the validity, enforceability and scope of protection of intellectual property rights in internet-related industries are uncertain and still evolving.

 

As of December 31, 2023, we had over 390 active registrations or pending applications for the OPERA, Opera with Red O (both old and new versions) and OPERA SOFTWARE trademarks in over 90 countries, and for our red “O” logo in over 80 countries. We are also seeking trademark protections for certain of our other brands, including Opera GX. Opera has a patent portfolio that includes more than 20 patents issued in the United States as well as certain international patent registrations. In addition, as of December 31, 2023, we had hundreds of registered domain names related to our businesses.

 

Regulations

 

Norwegian Regulations on Intellectual Property Rights

 

Norway adheres to key international agreements for the protection of intellectual property rights, hereunder the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, Berne Convention, Universal Copyright Convention of 1952, the Rome Convention and the TRIPS agreement.

 

The main acts governing intellectual property rights in Norway are the Patents Act of December 15, 1967, Designs Act of March 14, 2003, Trademarks Act of March 26, 2010, Copyrights Act of June 15, 2018, and Marketing Act of January 9, 2009. The Trade Secrets Act of March 27, 2020, protects trade secrets.

 

Trademarks, designs and patents shall be registered upon application to the Norwegian Industrial Property Office, or the NIPO, in order to be valid in Norway. Patent applications which have been granted at the European Patent Office can be validated in Norway upon application to the NIPO.

 

 

Regulations on Data Protection and Information Security

 

The principal data protection legislation in Norway is the Personal Data Act of June 15, 2018, no. 38. The Personal Data Act implements 2016/679/EU - General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR, in its entirety. The purpose of the act is to protect natural persons from violation of their right to privacy through the processing of personal data. Broadly speaking, the GDPR applies to the processing of personal data conducted by companies established in the European Economic Area, or EEA, and to the processing of personal data of data subjects in the EEA, where the processing is linked to offering services to such data subjects or monitoring their behavior.

 

A significant number of the users of our products are in the EEA and we also serve our browser users and others from our business establishment in Norway, and consequently our processing of the personal data of such users is subject to the GDPR. Since the Court of Justice of the European Union, or CJEU, handed down its judgment in Schrems II in 2020, data protection authorities in Norway, Ireland, France, Germany, and elsewhere have levied significant fines against various technology companies for GDPR violations. Decisions by such authorities, as well as guidance from the European Data Protection Board have repeatedly emphasized that international transfers of personal data should be subject to heightened scrutiny. Furthermore, regulatory decisions and related litigation (such as the so-called IAB Decision, recently decided by the CJEU) underscore that the internet advertising industry is an area of particular attention for privacy authorities.

 

In recent years many additional jurisdictions, including Brazil, Kenya, Nigeria, India, and China, have enacted or updated data privacy or data localization laws. Similarly, several states of the U.S. have passed or are debating their own privacy laws. The precise requirements of each law vary widely, though we see some general trends towards more regulatory oversight, especially of data-driven businesses like ours, and increased focus on service and data localization. We anticipate continued developments in data protection, privacy and data localization rules in various countries, which will continue to affect our business and impact our products and services. See “Item 3. Key Information —D. Risk Factors—Risks Related to Our Technology and Intellectual Property—Because we store, process and use data, some of which contains personal information, we are subject to complex and evolving laws and regulations across multiple jurisdictions regarding privacy, data protection and other matters” of this annual report.

 

Regulations on Artificial Intelligence & Digital Services

 

New laws, regulations, policies, and international accords relating to artificial intelligence and digital service, are being developed and formalized in Europe and the U.S., which could result in monetary penalties or other regulatory actions. For example, the EU’s recently adopted EU Artificial Intelligence Act includes specific transparency and other requirements for general purpose AI systems and the models on which those systems are based. In addition, the White House's Executive Order on the Safe, Secure, and Trustworthy Development and Use of Artificial Intelligence devises a framework for the U.S. government, among other things, to regulate private sector use and development of certain foundation models.

 

The EU’s Digital Markets Act (DMA), which entered into force on November 1, 2022, is intended to ensure a higher degree of competition in European digital markets. The DMA prohibits companies designated as “gatekeepers” and providing core platform services from engaging in certain kinds of self-preferencing behaviors. While Opera has not been designated as a gatekeeper under the DMA, certain platform companies with which Opera competes have or may be, resulting in increased implementation of browser choice screens and other similar effects. On January 26, 2024, for example, Opera announced its intention to increase its iOS development efforts following Apple’s decision to implement a choice screen and allow alternative browsers providers to offer iOS users in the EU full featured browsers based on alternative browser engines.

 

Regulations Relating to Content Recommendation

 

Our Opera News content discovery and recommendation platform is available in a wide variety of markets worldwide. In recent years, there has been an increased emphasis on the veracity of online news reports, with the increasing social expectation that content platforms and aggregators will take steps to prevent the dissemination of “fake news.” Moreover, a number of countries have adopted regulatory regimes for news aggregation services requiring local registration or licensing, in some cases enabling more effective governmental restrictions on their citizens’ access to certain categories of information. Other countries have adopted legislation expanding publishers’ copyright entitlements on digital platforms including search engines, social media and content recommendation platforms. Australia and France, for example, have adopted laws which afford publishers of digital media the right to receive payment for use of their content in search results or content recommendations. The European Union has adopted Directive (EU) 2019/790 on copyright and related rights in the Digital Single Market, which gives press publications more direct control over the re-use of their content and also tasks online content sharing platforms, which host user-generated content, with certain duties related to preventing their users from violating copyright of others. In short, content aggregation is becoming increasingly regulated, and we anticipate that we will be subject to an increasingly diverse and fragmented regulatory environment over time.

 

European Economic Sanctions

 

The European Union adopted certain economic sanctions following the 2014 invasion and purported annexation of Crimea in Council Regulation (EU) 833/2014 of 31 July 2014 concerning restrictive measures in view of Russia’s actions destabilizing the situation in Ukraine, or the EU Regulation. Norway, as a member of the EEA, has incorporated the EU Regulation’s economic sanctions into its domestic law in the Norwegian Sanctions Act. Since 2014 and in light of Russia’s continuing aggression in Ukraine, the European Union has amended the EU Regulation with various additional packages of economic sanctions and accordingly additional sanctions have in due course likewise been incorporated into Norwegian domestic law. Consequently, the EU’s economic sanctions, either directly or as incorporated into Norwegian law, apply to the Opera Group’s companies, personnel and operations in Europe. For example, on December 16, 2022, the European Union adopted the December 2022 EU Sanctions, prohibiting the provision of "advertising services" to legal persons, entities or bodies established in Russia, and therefore we have subsequently terminated all advertising contracts with customers in Russia among other actions. The European Union, as well as other jurisdictions including the United States, have continued to periodically adopt more and additional sanctions throughout 2023 and early 2024.

 

 

Regulations on Environment, Social & Governance

 

In July 2022, the Norwegian Åpenhetsloven (Transparency Act) came into force. To promote respect for basic human rights and decent working conditions, the Transparency Act imposes a duty on Norwegian companies to inform and publish how they work to ensure basic human rights and decent working conditions, both in their own businesses as well as in their supply chains. In accordance with the Transparency Act, Opera carries out due diligence assessments of the risks associated with Opera’s business of potential violation of basic human rights or decent working conditions by Opera, its suppliers, or its business partners. The results of these due diligence assessments are reported and made public annually on Opera’s website (https://legal.opera.com/transparency/).

 

The European Union adopted the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (“CSRD”), Directive EU 2022/2464, effective January 5, 2023. Norway, as a member of the EEA, is expected to incorporate CSRD into its domestic law soon. CSRD which will require our European subsidiaries to conduct an assessment of Opera’s impact on environmental and social conditions, as well as the risks and opportunities such conditions present for Opera, and to disclose such assessment in their financial statements. We will also need to disclose certain categories of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions resulting from our operations. Similarly, on March 6, 2024, the SEC adopted final rules which will, subject to legal challenges, require disclosure of material climate-related risks, GHG emissions and climate-related financial metrics not previously required by the SEC.

 

C.           Organizational Structure

 

The chart below summarizes our corporate structure and identifies all our principal subsidiaries and their places of incorporation as of the date of this annual report:

 

https://cdn.kscope.io/5a9e5c09a479940ccbc512a61d63f84c-orgstrt.jpg

 


Notes:

(1)

6% held by additional Opera group entities.

(2)

20% held by nominee shareholders.

 

D.

Property, Plants and Equipment

 

Our corporate headquarters is located in Oslo, Norway. Our principal technical development facilities are located in Wroclaw, Poland, Dundee, Scotland, Beijing, China and both Linköping and Gothenburg, Sweden. We also have offices in Nigeria, Ireland, France, Germany, Spain, South Africa and Kenya among other countries.

 

Our servers are hosted in leased data centers, primarily in the Netherlands, the United States, Canada, Nigeria, South Africa, Iceland and Singapore. The data centers in our network are owned and maintained for us by major domestic and international data center providers. We generally enter into leasing and hosting service agreements with renewal terms that range from one to three years.

 

 

Item 4A. Unresolved Staff Comments

 

None.

 

Item 5. Operating and Financial Review and Prospects

 

You should read the following discussion and analysis of our financial condition and results of operations in conjunction with our consolidated financial statements and the related notes included elsewhere in this annual report. This discussion contains forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties. Our actual results and the timing of selected events could differ materially from those anticipated in these forward-looking statements as a result of various factors, including those set forth under Item 3. Key InformationD. Risk Factors and elsewhere in this annual report.

 

For discussion related to our financial condition, changes in financial condition, and results of operations for 2022 compared to 2021, see “Item 5.A. - Operating and Financial Review and Prospects in our Annual Report on Form 20-F for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2022, which was filed with the SEC on April 20, 2023.

 

A.

Operating Results

 

Executive Overview of Full Year 2023 results

 

 

Total revenue was $396.8 million, an increase of 20% compared to 2022.

 

 

Advertising revenue was $231.0 million, an increase of 23% compared to 2022.

 

 

Search revenue was $162.2 million, an increase of 16% compared to 2022.

 

 

Net income was $153.3 million, up from $15.0 million in 2022.

 

 

Adjusted EBITDA was $93.7 million, an increase of 38% compared to 2022.

 

 

Net cash flow from operating activities was $82.8 million, an increase of 46% compared to 2022.

 

 

Free cash flow from operations was $72.5 million, an increase of 69% compared to 2022.

 

The 20% increase in revenue from 2022 to 2023, corresponding to an increase of $65.8 million in absolute amount, was driven by increased monetization on a per-user basis, a result of both underlying advertising demand and pricing factors as well as the growth of our browser and news user bases in higher revenue-per-user Western markets. In addition, advertising revenue, which in 2021 surpassed search revenue for the first time, continued to grow at a higher rate than search revenue, in large part driven by our Opera Ads audience extension platform.

 

Expenses and other items that are included in the calculation of adjusted EBITDA increased by $44.4 million, or 18%, primarily a result of the $39.2 million, or 84%, increase in cost of inventory sold, which includes the cost of advertising inventory sold on our Opera Ads platform. Marketing and distribution expenses remained the most significant cost item at $109.9 million, a reduction of $5.0 million, or 4% since 2022, while we continued to invest heavily in the user growth of our products in Western markets to accelerate our revenue growth. Personnel expenses excluding share-based remuneration increased by 1% from 2022 to $65.8 million. As a result, our adjusted EBITDA was $93.7 million or a 24% margin in 2023, marking an increase of 38% compared to $68.1 million and a 21% margin in 2022.

 

Net income was $153.3 million in 2023, up from $15.0 million in 2022. This is inclusive of an increase of $89.8 million in the estimated fair value of our investment in OPay. Net finance income of $7.3 million in 2023 was the results of a net gain of $3.2 million on our discontinued investment program, a gain of $1.1 million from the settlement of the receivable from the sale of our former investment in Nanobank, and higher interest income on bank deposits. Depreciation and amortization decreased by $0.8 million, or 6% since 2022, to $13.2 million. Share-based remuneration increased by 82% to $17.0 million in 2023 primarily due to grants made by Kunlun to certain employees of Opera for which we recognized a share-based remuneration expense of $6.5 million in 2023, up from $1.9 million in 2022. Opera does not have any obligation to settle the awards granted by Kunlun and such grants do not lead to dilution for Opera’s shareholders because such employees receive shares in Kunlun when the awards are exercised. Tax and all other items not included in adjusted EBITDA had a combined negative contribution of $7.4 million to our 2023 net income.

 

Cash and cash equivalents totaled $93.9 million as of December 31, 2023, an increase of $41.5 million from $52.4 million as of December 31, 2022. The $41.5 million increase was caused by net cash inflows from operating and investing activities of $82.8 million and $20.0 million, respectively, partly offset by a net cash outflow in financing activities of $59.8 million, including a total of $55.8 million used to pay cash dividends and repurchase shares, and a negative effect of $1.5 million from exchange rate changes on our cash and cash equivalents. The majority of our cash from investing activities came from the sale of our marketable securities, which totaled $23.4 million. Investments in equipment and development of new products totaled $6.4 million. 2023 was the first year in which we paid dividends, starting with a special dividend of $0.80 per ADS in January, followed by the payment of a dividend of $0.40 per ADS in July made under a recurring semi-annual cash dividend program that we adopted in June. Dividends payable on Kunlun's ordinary shares in Opera were offset against Opera's receivable from the sale of an investment, which receivable was due from Kunlun following the sale of Opera's former stake in Star X. In total, we paid $23.1 million in cash dividends in 2023. In November 2023, we completed the third repurchase program of our ADSs. We spent a total of $32.7 million on share repurchases in 2023.

 

Our free cash flow from operations increased by 69% since 2022, to $72.5 million. We continue to consider our liquidity to be healthy.

 

 

Key Metrics

 

We use certain key non-financial metrics to monitor and manage our business, most importantly our product adoption as measured by MAUs and the ARPU. We use these indicators to evaluate our business, measure our performance, identify trends affecting our business, formulate business plans, and make strategic decisions. We believe these indicators provide useful information to investors in understanding and evaluating our operating results.

 

The following table presents certain of our user metrics for the periods indicated:

 

   

Three months ended (1)

 
   

Mar 31,

2022

   

Jun 30,

2022

   

Sept 30,

2022

   

Dec 31,

2022

   

Mar 31,

2023

   

Jun 30,

2023

   

Sept 30,

2023

   

Dec 31,

2023

 
   

(in millions, except for ARPU)

 

Smartphone total average MAUs

    203.4       198.4       198.0       196.6       189.7       190.5       185.8       185.8  

PC browser average MAUs

    77.7       73.4       72.8       75.5       76.4       76.2       76.8       79.5  

Feature phone average MAUs

    55.1       55.7       52.0       51.6       53.0       48.9       48.6       47.4  

Other

    0.8       0.8       1.0       0.7       0.2       0.2       0.1       0.2  

Total MAUs

    337.0       328.3       323.8       324.4       319.4       315.9       311.3       312.9  

Annualized ARPU ($) (2)

    0.82       0.94       1.04       1.18       1.08       1.17       1.31       1.44  

 

(1)

Average across the three months included in each period, with each month calculated as of its final day using a 30-day lookback window.

   

(2)

Advertising and search revenue in the quarter, divided by the quarter’s average MAUs and multiplied by four to annualize.

 

Our total smartphone average MAUs in the three months ended December 31, 2023, was 185.8 million. This figure comprises approximately 154.4 million smartphone browser users, and approximately 31.5 million users of the dedicated Opera News apps.

 

Our strategy has been to focus on and expand our marketing and distribution activities in Western markets while reducing our spending in certain emerging markets. From the fourth quarter of 2022 to the same quarter of 2023, this strategy led to a 17% increase in our total overall user base in Western markets and a 6% decrease in emerging markets, for an approximate 4% reduction in our overall global user base. As can be shown in our annualized ARPU metric, the monetization increases on a per-user basis resulting from this shift to Western markets reached 22% over the fourth quarter of 2022, fueling our strong growth in advertising and search revenues for the same quarter in 2023.

 

Macroeconomic Conditions

 

The prevailing global economic climate, the indirect effects of the conflicts in Ukraine and Gaza, and other macroeconomic conditions, including but not limited to slower growth or economic recession, high inflation, changes to fiscal and monetary policy and exchange rate fluctuations have adversely affected and may continue to adversely impact our business. The increase in interest rates by the Federal Reserve and overall market conditions have led to significant strengthening of the U.S. dollar against other global currencies in 2023. We continuously monitor the direct and indirect impacts of these circumstances on our business and financial results. See “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors—Risks Related to Our Business and Industry—The impact of worldwide economic conditions may adversely affect our business, operating results, and financial condition.”

 

Major Factors Affecting Our Results of Operations

 

Our Ability to Maintain and Expand Our User Base, and Maintain and Enhance User Engagement

 

Our user base is important for our revenue generation, both in terms of its attractiveness to our advertising and search partners and in terms of its direct impact on our user-generated revenues. We have elected to prioritize our user growth efforts on geographies and segments that are most monetizable. This has led to a directional shift in our user base and revenue mix towards more developed markets, with a decline in total MAUs that has been well offset by the increase in ARPU.

 

Our ability to continue to effectively maintain and grow our user base in regions and segments with attractive monetization potential will affect the growth of our business and our revenues going forward. We generate revenues from our business partners, including search providers and advertisers, who are drawn to our platform in part because of the size of our user base, our attractive demographics, and our level of user engagement. Our ability to maintain and enhance user engagement depends on, among other things, the effectiveness of our marketing and distribution spend, our ability to continuously offer comprehensive and effective products and services, recommend personalized content through technological innovation and provide a superior content discovery experience.

 

Our Ability to Monetize

 

We have long and deep relationships with many of our major monetization partners. Changes in the revenue sharing or fee arrangements with our key monetization partners may materially affect our revenues, although we have not seen such material impacts to our revenues over the 2021 to 2023 period. However, for example, a change in the revenue sharing percentage paid by certain of our major partners such as Google, or a change in their payment policies or other contractual arrangements, could impact our revenues, either positively or negatively. Likewise, with respect to certain major advertising partners, changes in the fee rate we receive per click or per sale may affect our revenues. The growth, seasonality and strength of our major advertising partners’ businesses may also materially affect our revenues, positively or negatively.

 

Further, our revenue generation is affected by our ability to promote and improve our users’ experience with our partners’ services, and our ability to open additional third party advertising inventories. In 2023, we had more than 500 monetization partners. We intend to maintain and deepen our relationships with current partners and attract more partners to increase and diversify our revenue sources. Our ability to further increase the number of partners primarily depends on whether we can provide integrated marketing services and help them more precisely reach their targeted users through our AI-powered content discovery platform and Opera Ads platform.

 

 

Our Brand Recognition and Market Leadership

 

We believe that the strong brand recognition of “Opera” is a key element of our success. Our ability to maintain our massive user base and brand recognition as a leading independent browser and content discovery platform is key to our ability to maintain and enhance relationships with our users, monetization partners, content partners and distribution partners. In addition, the reputation and attractiveness of our platform among internet users also serves as a highly efficient marketing channel for our new products and services.

 

Our Ability to Conduct and Manage Strategic Investments and Acquisitions

 

We have invested and expect to continue to invest in new businesses, products, services and technologies, and we have also invested in promising companies. Our financial results could be adversely affected by our investments or acquisitions. The investments and acquired assets or businesses may not generate the financial results we expect. They could result in occurrence of significant investments and goodwill impairment charges, amortization expenses for other intangible assets and credit losses on trade and other receivables. We may continue to incur impairment charges in connection with our investments or acquisitions, which could depress our profitability and have a material adverse impact on our financial results. See "Item 3. Key Information – D. Risk Factors – Risks Related to Our Business and Industry – Our investments in new businesses, new products, services and technologies and companies are inherently risky and could disrupt our ongoing businesses."

 

Results of Operations

 

Adjustments Made After Presentation of Unaudited 2023 Financial Results

 

Subsequent to announcing our unaudited fourth quarter and fiscal year 2023 results on February 29, 2024, we have adjusted our estimate for fair value of our shares in OPay as a result of certain changes to the inputs used in the valuation method. The annual consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this annual report present our stake in OPay at a value of $253.3 million. This is $16.1 million less than the $269.4 million reported in the earnings release for the fourth quarter and fiscal year 2023. As the shares are measured at fair value through profit or loss, our net income for 2023 includes a gain of $89.8 million in connection with the fair value increase of OPay in 2023 compared to a gain of $105.9 million prior. Our resulting net income for 2023 is $153.3 million. See Note 11 to our consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this annual report for more information on the valuation of our shares in OPay. Changes in the fair value of our shares in OPay do not affect our revenue, operating profit, adjusted EBITDA, or cash flows.

 

The following table set forth our consolidated statement of operations data for each of the periods presented, in absolute terms and as percentage of revenue (in thousands, except for percentages):

 

   

Year ended December 31,

 
   

2021

   

2022

   

2023

 

Revenue

  $ 250,991       100 %   $ 331,037       100 %   $ 396,827       100 %

Other operating income

    466       0 %     469       0 %     666       0 %

Operating expenses:

                                               

Technology and platform fees

    (4,472 )     (2 )%     (4,104 )     (1 )%     (3,145 )     (1 )%

Content cost

    (3,712 )     (1 )%     (3,834 )     (1 )%     (4,297 )     (1 )%

Cost of inventory sold

    (5,507 )     (2 )%     (46,650 )     (14 )%     (85,808 )     (22 )%

Personnel expenses including share-based remuneration

    (74,450 )     (30 )%     (74,588 )     (23 )%     (82,750 )     (21 )%

Marketing and distribution expenses

    (120,944 )     (48 )%     (114,988 )     (35 )%     (109,947 )     (28 )%

Credit loss expense

    (557 )     (0 )%     (1,387 )     (0 )%     (3,967 )     (1 )%

Depreciation and amortization

    (19,600 )     (8 )%     (13,939 )     (4 )%     (13,165 )     (3 )%

Impairment of non-financial assets

    (5,624 )     (2 )%     (3,194 )     (1 )%     (681 )     (0 )%

Other expenses

    (22,802 )     (9 )%     (27,015 )     (8 )%     (30,842 )     (8 )%

Total operating expenses

    (257,668 )     (103 )%     (289,699 )     (88 )%     (334,603 )     (84 )%

Operating profit (loss)

    (6,211 )     (2 )%     41,808       13 %     62,890       16 %

Share of net income (loss) of equity-accounted investees

    (29,376 )     (12 )%     (6 )     (0 )%     -       -  

Impairment of equity-accounted investee

    (115,477 )     (46 )%     -       -       -       -  

Fair value gain on investments

    116,561       46 %     1,500       0 %     89,838       23 %

Net finance income (expense):

                                               

Finance income

    123       0 %     21,454       6 %     8,876       2 %

Finance expense

    (6,912 )     (3 )%     (39,729 )     (12 )%     (644 )     (0 )%

Foreign exchange gain (loss)

    (1,814 )     (1 )%     (1,157 )     (0 )%     (963 )     (0 )%

Net finance income (expense)

    (8,603 )     (3 )%     (19,432 )     (6 )%     7,269       2 %

Profit (loss) before income taxes

    (43,106 )     (17 )%     23,870       7 %     159,997       40 %

Income tax expense

    (43 )     (0 )%     (8,835 )     (3 )%     (6,697 )     (2 )%

Profit (loss) from continuing operations

    (43,149 )     (17 )%     15,035       5 %     153,301       39 %

Profit (loss) from discontinued operations

    (816 )     (0 )%     -       -       -       -  

Net income (loss) attributable to owners of the parent

  $ (43,964 )     (18 )%   $ 15,035       5 %   $ 153,301       39 %

 

 

Revenue

 

We generate revenue from advertising, search, technology licensing and other services. Advertising revenue is generated by delivering advertising on our PC and mobile browsers, such as predefined bookmarks (Speed Dials), on Opera News, and on Opera network partners’ properties. Advertising revenue also includes income from all other user-generated activities other than search revenue, such as subscriptions to services that are provided by Opera or its partners. Search revenue is generated when a user of our PC and mobile browsers conducts a qualified search using a search partner, such as Google or Yandex, through the browsers’ built-in combined address and search bar, or when otherwise redirected to the search partner via browser functionality. Technology licensing and other revenue include income from the sale of software and licenses to our game development platform GameMaker Studio, licensing of our proprietary technology to third parties, and provisions of related maintenance, support and hosting services, provision of professional services, and provision of customized browser configurations to mobile operators. The table below specifies the amount of revenue from each category (in thousands, except for percentages):

 

   

Year ended December 31,

   

Change

 
   

2021

   

2022

   

2023

   

2022 vs. 2021

   

2023 vs. 2022

 

Advertising

  $ 123,910     $ 187,434     $ 230,908       51.3 %     23.2 %

Search

    121,961       140,162       162,168       14.9 %     15.7 %

Technology licensing and other revenue

    5,119       3,441       3,679       (32.8 )%     6.9 %

Total revenue

  $ 250,991     $ 331,037     $ 396,827       31.9 %     19.9 %

 

Our advertising revenue increased to $230.9 million in 2023 from $187.4 million in 2022, representing an increase of 23%. Underlying advertising demand led to better monetization on a per-user basis, which together with improved pricing factors and the growth of our user bases in Western markets, resulted in the continuing growth of our Opera Ads platform where we also leveraged third party inventories to meet the demand we sourced from advertisers, as evidenced by the growth of our cost of inventory sold.

 

Our search revenue increased to $162.2 million in 2023 from $140.2 million in 2022, representing an increase of 16%. The increase represents both underlying monetization improvements by our search partners and the growth of our browser user base in Western markets where advertisers typically pay more to be promoted. As our search revenue is based on revenue share arrangements with our search partners, these factors together have a direct positive impact on our search revenue.

 

Our technology licensing and other revenue was $3.7 million in 2023, up by 7% from $3.4 million in 2022. We expect our technology licensing and other revenue to remain at this relative level going forward. See Note 3 to our consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this annual report for more information about our revenues.

 

Other Operating Income

 

Other operating income includes items of income that are not generated from our ordinary activities. For example, other operating income includes gains on disposals of property, equipment, intangible assets and subsidiaries. Other operating income also includes government grants related to income. The table below specifies the amount of other operating income (in thousands, except for percentages):

 

   

Year ended December 31,

   

Change

 
   

2021

   

2022

   

2023

   

2022 vs. 2021

   

2023 vs. 2022

 

Other operating income

  $ 466     $ 469     $ 666       0.6 %     41.9 %

As a percentage of revenue

    0.2 %     0.1 %     0.2 %                

 

Our other operating income remained stable at $0.7 million from 2022 to 2023. Similar to 2022, other operating income in 2023 primarily included various individually immaterial items of incidental income that were not generated from our ordinary activities.

 

Technology and Platform Fees

 

Technology and platform fees primarily comprise of (i) costs of any platform or collection service used to facilitate subscription services where we are the principal in the transaction, and (ii) transaction and communication platform expenses. We expect such individual components within this cost category to stay relatively stable as a percentage of the related revenue streams. The table below specifies the amount of technology and platform fees (in thousands, except for percentages):

 

   

Year ended December 31,

   

Change

 
   

2021

   

2022

   

2023

   

2022 vs. 2021

   

2023 vs. 2022

 

Technology and platform fees

  $ 4,472     $ 4,104     $ 3,145       (8.2 )%     (23.4 )%

As a percentage of revenue

    1.8 %     1.2 %     0.8 %                

 

Our technology and platform fees declined from 2022 to 2023, decreasing by $1.0 million to $3.1 million.

 

 

Content Cost

 

Content cost mainly consists of revenue shares to content creators on our platforms such as Opera News Hub, and payments to publishers and monetization partners related to our Browser and News segment. We continue our efforts to increase the amount of content available on our applications by onboarding more European and American publishers. Another significant part of content cost is cashback cost where we share part of the cashback with our customers. We expect this cost category to stay relatively stable as a percentage of the related revenue streams, although given its limited relative size we may see continued fluctuations as observed in prior periods. The table below specifies the amount of content cost (in thousands, except for percentages):

 

   

Year ended December 31,

   

Change

 
   

2021

   

2022

   

2023

   

2022 vs. 2021

   

2023 vs. 2022

 

Content cost

  $ 3,712     $ 3,834     $ 4,297       3.3 %     12.1 %

As a percentage of revenue

    1.5 %     1.2 %     1.1 %                

 

Our content cost was relatively stable from 2022 to 2023, increasing by $0.5 million to $4.3 million.

 

Cost of Inventory Sold

 

Cost of inventory sold consists primarily of the cost for third party advertising inventory that is sold to our customers along with Opera owned inventory to better serve our advertisers’ demand. We expect this cost category to grow as a percentage of the advertising revenue stream as we see it driving incremental profitability of our advertising efforts. The table below specifies the amount of cost of inventory sold (in thousands, except for percentages):

 

   

Year ended December 31,

   

Change

 
   

2021

   

2022

   

2023

   

2022 vs. 2021

   

2023 vs. 2022

 

Cost of inventory sold

  $ 5,507     $ 46,650     $ 85,808       747.2 %     83.9 %

As a percentage of revenue

    2.2 %     14.1 %     21.6 %                

 

In 2023, the cost of inventory sold increased by 83.9% to $85.8 million, or 37% of advertising revenue. This increase was driven mainly by the rapid development of Opera Ads platform, our audience extension product.

 

Personnel Expenses Including Share-based Remuneration

 

Our personnel expenses including share-based remuneration primarily consist of salaries and bonuses with applicable social security costs, external temporary hire costs and other personnel-related expenses, as well as share-based remuneration, including related social security costs. Personnel expenses are net of capitalized development expenses. We expect our personnel expenses to increase in absolute amounts in the foreseeable future due to the anticipated growth of business and expansion of our global operations, as well as periodic salary adjustments.

 

In 2022, Kunlun, our parent company, enrolled certain of our employees in its share incentive plan under which these employees have received options issued by Kunlun as a compensation for services provided to us. We do not have any obligation to settle the awards granted by Kunlun but grants from Kunlun to our employees are accounted for as equity-settled share-based payments in our consolidated financial statements, similar to those grants awarded under our own share incentive plan. The table below specifies the amount of personnel expenses, including share-based remuneration (in thousands, except for percentages):

 

   

Year ended December 31,

   

Change

 
   

2021

   

2022

   

2023

   

2022 vs. 2021

   

2023 vs. 2022

 

Personnel expenses excluding share-based remuneration

  $ 63,984     $ 65,284     $ 65,801       2.0 %     0.8 %

Share-based remuneration, including related social security tax

    10,466       9,304       16,950