Get set for a billion Indians on the internet
I remember reading once that India was one of the most ingenious societies on the planet. Where many would see an impossible barrier, Indian ingenuity means it is just a challenge to be overcome.
A report on the BBC this week reminded me of that observation: it told how mobile apps are seen as a booming new industry in India, with demand rocketing even among people who don’t have a mobile data connection.
You read that right. A new business, Mobiworld, has found a niche providing mobile apps to smartphones, in its stores, using Bluetooth and an SMS code. Although the store has only a fraction of the thousands of apps available via Android Market or Apple’s App Store, it is satisfying a need among a demanding subscriber base.
Whether they want driving games, guides to wearing a sari or local maps and guides, these subscribers have the smartphones and want to fill them with content and applications.
It is just one sign of how hungry many Indians are for connections, and an indication of the latent demand in this market of more than a billion people.
Another BBC report a few weeks ago puts this demand, and this potential, in perspective. India is estimated to have 121 million internet users today, a huge number by most countries’ standards, but only a minority considering the population of 1.2 billion. In comparison, the number of mobile phone subscriptions is estimated at nearly 900 million, with 346 million using mobile data and more than half of all internet users connecting over a phone.
The article predicts that the accelerating rollout of 2G and 3G networks, with the increasing availability of affordable smartphones and other connected devices, will put the internet in the hands of millions more Indians, particularly the often poor rural population where internet penetration is now only 2 percent.
Just think what 1.2 billion ingenious connected Indians could do.