India: the Sleeping Giant

Marc Jarrett
India is the world’s second most populated country, with some 1.1 billion inhabitants.

With the world's 4th largest economy in purchasing power, India has made rapid economic progress in the last decade, and is widely acknowledged by economists to become a major player on the world stage as the millennium progresses.

India has benefited from globalization and the continued trend of outsourcing, with a keen and well-educated workforce willing to do service-orientated jobs such as becoming call-center agents, for a fraction of the cost of their contemporaries in the west.

Some 40m Indians are already online, which equates to only about 3.5 percent of the population, so the scope for growth here is clearly enormous. Online penetration grew at 700 percent between 2000-2007.

According to, credit card penetration in India is still quite low with only 3.8m cards in circulation at the last count.

This is in stark contrast to the latest available figures for cell phone ownership which stands at about 66 percent – a staggering 726m people, give and take the odd million.

The rapid increase in cell phone penetration in India and other developing economies, when compared to that of land-lines, is easy to understand.

For developing countries, where penetration rates of telephones are extremely low, catching up with developed countries in terms of telecom infrastructure has meant investment in wireless and mobile system local loops, bypassing investment in fixed lines.

This is especially so, because mobile links are a quick and inexpensive way of developing new telecom infrastructure from scratch. From this point of view, India has not imitated the developed countries, as convergence implies, but has leap-frogged, like many other developing economies.

Pay-per-call phone billing should therefore not be an alternative, but rather a primary method of monetizing traffic from this vast market.

Whilst English is written and understood by the educated classes, Hindi is the official language of this country and should therefore be used when communicating with prospective Indian clients during the sales process.

Your phone processor should be able to provide you with tools to do this; if not change to one that can.

Then you will be in a position to turn your pixels into profits from this giant market which is showing signs of waking from its long slumber.

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