Google wants to get as many as 20 million small and medium businesses in India onto the Internet over the next few years.
The site Livemint.com reported Tuesday (May 26) that the online juggernaut will bring those millions of enterprises to cyberspace using (of course) Google’s ubiquitous search and map functions.
There is room for such ambition, as the company estimates an Internet presence that extends across fewer than 3 million of India’s total 51 million small and medium enterprises. The site noted the importance of the role relatively smaller enterprises play in India’s economic momentum, noting that micro, small and medium businesses will contribute as much as 50 percent of GDP in 2024, up from 38 percent today.
To help speed the initiative along, Google has unveiled a mobile app known as “Google My Business” that lets businesses upload and manage information across Google’s platform, in both Hindi and English, free of charge. The company has seen a five month pilot program generate strong demand: over a million small and medium enterprises signed up, and roughly 25,000 are coming onboard weekly.
Livemint reports that India’s Internet user base tops 300 million, and it is adding 6 million additional users on a monthly basis.
“In the next three years India will have over 500 million Internet users,” Rajan Anandan, a Google vice president and managing director with Google’s southeast Asia and India operations said, “and these users will need access to all kind of information in their local languages. Indian SMEs have struggled to build and maintain their online presence. Search experience for local business in India is broken today, and we want to fix it by connecting businesses with their customers.”
The latest Google launch in India dovetails with earlier company efforts in the region. In September, Google and the Indian government sought to promote Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Digital India project, which, among other goals, seeks to boost high-speed Internet connectivity nationwide.
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