“We are tapping into the rural market in India, and we aim to reach out to 300,000 villages by end of 2018,” says Rajan Anandan, VP, SE Asia and India, Google on the second day of TiE Global Summit, held in Taj Palace Hotel, New Delhi.
Rajan spoke about how indigenous startups should pay more attention to the next set of internet users in our country. According to him, India has the second largest internet user-base in the world, and that has brought forth a lot of business prospects for startups that they have leveraged upon so far. However, the time has come for these companies to broaden their horizons and look past the first 100 million internet users; instead, focus on the evolving population gearing up to get all digital.
Rajan categorizes well-educated population with sound disposable income as ‘India 1’. He stated that with a with a key focus on India 1, almost all startups today are merely copying those that germinate from the Valley or China; nonetheless, what works best somewhere else might not work wonders for our country. “With a population of 1.3 billion people, these companies have not even scratched the surface of the business opportunities that India has to offer,” he explained.
Labeling the next 200 to 300 million internet users of our country as ‘India 2’and beyond that as ‘India 3’Rajan thinks that addressing the main challenges of these segments that will raise to 600 million connected users in the next 4 years, is where the opportunity for the future rests. “In accordance to this, Google’s main focus is on getting the next billion users online,” he quips.
Rajan feels, India has countless sectors with great unmet requirements that includes financial services, agriculture and sanitation, “The first amongst these sectors that are successfully looking beyond the first 100 million users are digital payments. In fact, India will have the most advanced digital payment ecosystem in the world in the coming five years,” says Rajan.
Lastly, Rajan also shared that Google plans to work upon this impetus using pervasive high-speed Wi-Fi networks with its association with the Indian Railways. They have already covered 90 large railway stations in just 11 months, tapping into 4.5 million Indians who use the services. And with this enterprise, Google is seeing nearly 15,000 new users get on to the web for the very first time every single day! By the end of 2018, the company sees itself covering 400 stations across India.