Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt’s recent visit to Delhi got a lot of coverage for India’s internet in the world press. Unfortunately they were not very positive noises.
Few important points raised during the Google Big Tent event (a forum that brings together policymakers and Internet experts),
- India has very low internet penetration, a mere 10%. The real opportunity is when 800 million people start using the internet (oops! Does that mean we internet companies have to wait a lot longer?)
- The biggest opportunity for startups in India is in the mobile apps and data analytics space.
- If you are not building mobile apps, you are not doing the right thing. Android will be majority of the market in the future.
- Indian startups have understimated the opportunity in mobile payments and video on the internet.
- 40 per cent of the startups in Silicon Valley are (run by) Indian entrepreneurs
- Startups should ensure that they never run out of cash.
- The key is to have an audience.
- Get the audience first, you will find a way not to run out of cash.
The regulations from government for mobile payments are tough in India. One of the main reasons it is tough is govt wants to make sure that consumers are not cheated. That is one of the main reasons why we don’t see many startups in the mobile payment area.
Home Internet Access Penetration in India
The number of people accessing internet from home in India is pathetically low. It stands at a mere 3%.
- China 34%
- Brazil 40%
- Russia 51%
- US 73%
- Japan, Germany 77%
- Sweden 93% (holy cow!)
What Should The Govt of India Do?
We in India seem to rejoice reading reports of type – India has 3rd largest users for Facebook, India amongst top 5 countries for Twitter.
The government needs to really look into why the penetration is not increasing. The main reason being lack of last mile connection or availability of affordable WiMAX/LTE providers.
Google chairman Eric Schmidt feels India is lagging badly behind in harnessing the power of the Internet because of its failure to invest in high-speed telecom networks.
There is no need to feel dejected with this number. According to me internet companies that have established themselves in India will see a huge opportunity as the penetration grows. The only direction the home internet access penetration can move is upwards, if you think it will go below 3% you must be some pessimist.
In India if internet usage needs a huge push (which it does), we need an Minister for Internet.