Google Inc has announced it will offer free websites to SME’s in the country. This is seen by many as a move to expand Internet usage in India. The company aims to give online visibility to half a million of these businesses in the next three years. Google said in a presentation held in New Delhi on Wednesday.
With 870 million users, India is the world’s second biggest mobile phone market, but Internet penetration is low. There are about 100 million Internet users in the country, though the number is less than one tenth of the country’s 1.2 billion population, it still makes it the third biggest Internet user market.
There are about Eight million SME’s in the country, of which half of them have a website and only one million have an active online presence, said Google
The Internet search giant has also said that e-commerce is small today but it is taking a positive turn and can be a big business in the coming years.
Speaking to reporters, Nikesh Arora, Google’s chief business officer, said they were building an environment in the country and investing in the market. He also added the country was a small revenue market but a big user market.
Ranjan Anandan, managing director of Google’s Indian functions, said the company was making significant investments in initiating free websites for SME’s, but had no short term revenue expectations from it.
Google in partnership with its web hosting firm, HostGater will provide free web domain names and will maintain them for a year without any charges. At the end of the year, users may renew their domain names by paying a nominal fee.