“Never make fun of someone who speaks broken English. It means they know another language.” H. Jackson Brown Jr.
Nothing can be closer to the truth than this in India. Of its 1.31 billion population, only 120 million (approx) people can speak in English. That’s just 10 percent of the population. Which means nearly 90 percent of the population know another language, their own.
Yet, would you believe that English accounts for 56 percent of the content on the Internet while content in Indian languages accounts for less than 0.1 percent? What’s wrong with that, you may ask. After all, only large cities (where most of the English speakers/readers are concentrated) have good Internet connectivity and its penetration in smaller towns and rural areas leave a lot to be desired. True. But when the only golden rule of any business is to grab opportunities before the next person does, it is worthwhile to know that there’s a whole new, big market in India awaiting to be tapped by Internet companies, Indian or otherwise.
If you need more convincing, consider this:
- India has 957 million telecom users. Each month, 8-10 million Indians connect to the Internet for the first time, mostly through a mobile phone.
- The overall teledensity stands at 78 percent with rural teledensity at just 45 percent. The broadband Internet user base, however, is only 76 million – there’s clearly a lot of room for growth and innovation.
- Facebook has 100 million users in India, of which 85 percent access the social networking site via mobile.
- Rural India is where Internet users will increase by leaps and bounds, projected to grow from 60 million in June 2014 to 280 million in 2018.
- Over 54 percent of all Internet users in India will be over the age of 25, of which 40-50 percent will be in rural areas.
- Nearly 30 percent will be women.
- Nearly 90 percent will access the Internet through a mobile device.
Clearly, the future user profile will be more rural, more gender equal, older and more mobile – and they will all want content in their own language.
These numbers are only expected to grow following the government’s thrust of its Digital India program to offer services in different local languages.
Given this scenario, YourStory is happy to announce the first-ever Indian Language Digital Festival in New Delhi on March 11.
Through this festival, we hope to lay the foundation for local language Internet in India.
YourStory is pioneering this move by being available in 12 Indian local languages, besides English.
Check out more about Bhasha here
Reportedly, nearly 50 percent consumers rate having product information in their own language higher than the price of the product. It goes without saying then how important it is for businesses to communicate with customers in their own language. Many experts believe going multilingual should not be seen as a cost, but an investment that will bear fruits in the long run.
Whether you are an e-commerce portal, a healthcare service platform, a content distribution company, or any sector looking to go multilingual, then this is where you would want to be.
Buy tickets here.