In a recent announcement by Google, it has been declared that it will offer free websites for small and medium size businesses in India. According to this Reuters report, Google has now partnered with HostGator, in order to provide free website maintenance (up to one year) and domain names. Once the first year has passed, businesses will pay a small fee to renew their domain names. For those of you who may be unaware of HostGator, it is a provider of web hosting services, with headquarters in Houston, Texas and clients from over 200 countries. The company has done quite well since it’s inception in 2002 and it appears that it is likely to further spread it’s wings with this new Google partnership.
By taking this initiative, Google is attempting to get half a million Indian businesses on the web, within a three year time frame. This seems to be Google’s attempt to expand India’s internet market to it’s benefit. According to the report, India has approximately 870 million mobile users, however, the ratio of internet users is much lower, i.e. about 100 million. Since India is a country of 1.2 billion people, it is the world’s third largest internet market. This goes on to show the potential that India has for companies like Google to invest and expand the existing user base.
This news was revealed in a TechCircle interview with web host Net4India CMD Jasjit Sawhney. In the interview, he claims that among nearly 30 million Indian small businesses, only 400,000 (approximately) have websites. According to Sawhney, email hosting has an even lower number, which creates an important potential market for service providers.
On the contrary, Google claims that small businesses in India are in fact closer to 8 million. This was explained in a presentation on Wednesday. Google further explained that e-commerce was another opportunity for business in India.
No matter what the size of small and medium size business in India maybe, the investment potential seems to be enormous, with a change of earning huge profits in the long run. Having said that, this investment is also quite risky and may not yield any results for companies like Google in the short run. Perhaps this is the reason that this Google is making a significant amount of investment to provide free hosting, without any short term revenue expectations from this Indian investment (as mentioned in the report).