Indian ventures – losing out on Indian market?

As per alexa, China top 50 sites has only three global companies in there – Google, Yahoo, MSN/Live/MS – rest all seem to be Chinese companies. By contrast, India top 50 includes Google/Orkut, Yahoo, MSN/Live/MS as well as sites like youtube, blogger, rapidshare, wikipedia, tom(!), megaupload, monsterindia, xboard, facebook, screensavers, ebay, starware, digitalpoint, imdb, flickr, hi5, imagevenue, uusee(!) and wordpress.

Why is it that the Indian landscape has allowed for far fewer categories to be led by Indian businesses? One clear reason seems to be that english is the dominant language being used on the internet – even as local languages begin to grow, this balance is unlikely to tip in next few years.

The other interesting part is that all web 2.0 oriented sites (italicized in above list) are global sites – the fact they are making it to top sites means that usage is there. Is it that we are overlooking the opportunity around web 2.0? or, just looking at it too late? is our better connectivity into the global community driving this (in which case, perhaps Indian entrepreneurs should look to embrace this phenomenon.) Or, are we beginning to lag behind on “state of the art” on the internet, in terms of web 2.0 pieces of technology, and in terms of imbibing the consumer-involvement model of web 2.0 businesses? I have long felt that the quality of user experience on most Indian sites falls short of global standards. Falling behind on the UI expertise, technology and business models that lead internet growth globally can have a serious impact on future entrepreneurial potential of this space in India.

what do people think?

22 Responses to “Indian ventures – losing out on Indian market?”

  1. kamla bhatt says:

    Alok:

    Comparing India and China in the Internet landscape and enduser experience might be like comparing apples and oranges. Let me qualify by saying why. You hit upon one of the reasons: language. In China there is just one language. Period. Contrast this to India, where we have many and English seems to be predominant online language for the moment.

    Secondly, sites in China are censored heavily. I wonder how much of that has skewed the Alexa data.

    Thirdly, because of the censorship in someways China is not tied to the main global online community like India is. Maybe that is the reason why India has many internation online sites.

    The point I am trying to establish is that China’s internet experience is within a command economy framework, whereas India’s is relatively free of government interference (there have been some major misteps the Indian government took last year) and I suspect that difference in user experience might color the Alexa rankings for the two countries. This is just my sense.

    But, all this does not preclude the points you made that more India related online business needs to be nurtured. And I could not agree more about UI and user experience on Indian websites. The awareness is just starting to happen and maybe in a few years time we will get there.

    Kamla

  2. Rajan says:

    I beg to differ from both Satpal Parmar and Christie Fernandez with all due respect to the points they made. Actually, in India we do not have the investment culture, new age entrepreneurs face difficulty in mobilizing kind of resources they require to support their innovation or adopt a new technology that is the major issue. India not yet has produced new age entrepreneurs in numbers for others to get motivated. By and large leading entrepreneurs are from service or manufacturing and not yet we have overwhelmed the international market with any of tech innovation. Entrepreneur of earlier generation do not understand technology and has no compulsion to do so, as their going is good in Brick and mortar industry.

    With good ecosystem I am sure we wouldn’t lag behind in adopting technology or innovation.

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