A particular VC has been asking me for a very long time, “Mahesh, what is your take on ecommerce in Indic? Will Indian internet users accept an Indian language ecommerce site?”. I have been giving him my views but I did not have any data to back.
The year 2012 seems to have begun well for the Indic space – print and online media in India have been writing about Indian language space on the internet. Economic Times on Jan 24, 2012 (Republic Day) carried an article titled “Internet’s Next Growth Story to be Scripted in Vernacular Languages” (epaper, scanned version) and “Start-ups Eyeing Non-English Space ” (scanned version). The author of the article had called me few weeks ago but I wasn’t sure when this article was going to be published. Oneindia.in has been mentioned in the article as we are a major player in the Indian language space.
PS: My article was published in Thinking Aloud! magazine (December 2011). The entire issue focused on Indian languages on the internet and mobile.
India has about 100 million desktop & 50-150 mobile internet users. These numbers vary depending on whom you ask. IAMAI’s recent report says 18 million use the internet in India on a daily basis. Clearly we have a long way to go to make this ‘daily’ number bigger.
One of the reasons I constantly hear from people are – Indians are not going online because Internet is for English speaking elite user base. There isn’t enough content in Indian languages for the masses to be engaged on the internet. Yes, this is true when compared to English language but there is sufficient language content to keep a user busy.
The latest comscore press release “India’s Local News Destinations See Visitors from Outside of the Country Account for a Significant Share of their Global Audience” talks about the traffic the popular Indian sites are getting from outside India (safe to assume most of the users from outside India are NRIs). We at Oneindia.in are excited to see being ranked highly but competition is tight. We are happy to see where we are but not satisfied completely. We have a lot more potential which we are in the process of exploiting. Read more on Oneindia is India’s second most popular Local News Destination amongst NRIs: Comscore…
For a while the discussion about domain names in Indian language has been going on. India is about to get its own internationalized domain names (IDNs). China and Russia have their own IDNs for a while now.