Wednesday, August 23, 2006
Answer: None of them are Indian brands!
Not that there are no home-grown desi digital brands – Naukri.com, Indiatimes.com, Shaadi.com, Rediff.com , Bharat Matrimony.com, and MakeMyTrip.com among others have carved a space for themselves in the Indian consumers' mind. However, there is no Indian Internet brand which has either gone global or shaken the Internet world by sheer innovation.
Why is that despite having a talent pool of good technology & business professionals and despite VC/PE money chasing Indian Internet business ideas we do not have even ONE global internet brand! More so, when the playing field is really level in the digital world – after all isn't that what internet is all about?
Forget about creating a global brand, where is India's answer to China's Alibaba or Sohu, which can get a Google or Yahoo to sit up and take notice.
Why is it that in Web 2.0 there is no Indian company doing anything exciting? Why can't we create a del.icio.us or a digg.com? Simple concepts but which have become a rage.
We as Indian businesses need to really think large and place some big bets to address global markets. Our businesses need to plan more investments in Technolgy (R & D / engineering) for us to be able to complete with global Internet brands. Why Internet, even our software industry has not been able to turn around even a single global brand.
I hope in the next 4-5 years we should see some larger Indian Internet & software brands competing in the global markets with the global biggies!
Tuesday, August 08, 2006
Cut to 2006, the situation seems to have reversed, this is the era of Internet 2.0 in India. There are 30-40 million Internet users and more than 150 million telephone users (More than 100 million are mobile phone users). Internet firms have matured, many online business models have got established. Dotcoms seem destined for a good run in their second coming. However, multiple players have cropped up in most of the spaces. Sample partial list of players in different spaces:
- Email: Almost a dozen players including horizontal portals like Yahoo, MSN to ISPs like VSNL, Airtel broadband etc.
- Travel: More than 15 travel players along with most airlines offering online ticket booking. I had written about this in an earlier post
- Horizontal portals: Yahoo, Rediff, Indiatimes, Sify, MSN
- News sites: Times of India, IBN Live, NDTV, Samachar, HT.com, Jagran
Financial sites: Moneycontrol, Economic Times, Indiainfoline
- Shopping : Indiatimes, Rediff, eBay, Fabmall,
- Share broking: ICICI, HDFC Securties, Indiabulls, Sharekhan, 5paisa.com , Investmart
- Mobile VAS players: As per last count there are more than 3,000 short coded in India.
- Jobs – Naukri, Monster, Jobs Ahead, Clickjobs, Timesjobs along with a dozen smaller sites / aggregators
- Matrimonial: Shaadi, Bharat matrimony, Jeevan Saathi, Timesmatri.
- Real estate : 99Acres, Indiaproperties, Magicbricks
- Auto: Automart, Carwale, Cybersteering (Read more here)
With Online advertising also growing at 100% y-o-y, even eyeball chasing models besides commerce generating models have begun making sense when we compare it with the Internet 1.0 era.
Several players operating in the same spaces will surely lead to expansion and development of the market. This however triggers a key question-will all of them survive? I feel that over the next couple of years we will witness consolidation with only the top 3-4 players in each vertical surviving & more importantly thriving.
The key for survival and growth will be differentiated offering, better user experience and more importantly deep pockets leading to sustenance power.