The number of Internet users in India is estimated at between 45 Million and 50 Million. That makes India the 4th biggest country in the world in terms of total Internet users - behind only the US, China and Japan. However due to India's huge population, its Internet Penetration is among the lowest in the world at only 4.5%. What's more, it is estimated that only 10 million of those users are real power users who spend money online. While there is seemingly a lot of room for growth in the Indian market, a recent report quoted by contentSutra indicates that "there's a long way to go before a critical mass is reached..." Another challenge is that there are 23 mainstream languages that are spoken in India.
Top Web apps
NOTE: We can't hope to cover all the web apps in India, so please don't be offended if we've missed your app. We invite you to add more Indian web apps in the comments section.
Bazee.com ( it means ‘betting’ in Hindi) was probably the first Indian website to make a buzz in the market, when it was acquired by eBay. It’s still very successful and a thriving site in India.
In India there are lot of matrimonial sites. The complete list is available at http://indiaupcoming.com/tag/matrimonial. Among them all, Shaadi.com and BharatMatrimony.com are probably the most successful. Both of these sites have plans to diversify into other regional languages too.
Although currently the online travel sector comprises a mere 2.2 per cent of the domestic travel market, it has the potential for high growth and the field is heating up. Among the players, MakeMyTrip.com is very successful - although it’s facing tough competition from other notable players like Yatra.com and Arzoo.com. It should be noted that Arzoo.com is founded by Sabeer Bhatia, the co-founder of Hotmail.
It’s interesting to note that there are a number of digg.com clones - but none of them has any major traction in the market.
There is also rambhai.com, which was emailed to me recently with the note: "Yes from the tech perspective it is like a Digg clone. But the content and community are genuinely Indian and that is our focus." So it is localized content, which has been a theme in this series.
Rediff.com is the most widely used news portal. It’s a public company and provides services in matrimonial, auction, classified, shopping, travel deals, chat, photo albums, social networking, and more.
The growth in the service sector has fuelled growth in the real estate market in India. There are a number of players, but 99acres.com took an early lead in this field by using well positioned ads.
Online movie rentals
Seventymm.com is India’s largest online movie rental service, offering access to over 10,000 titles across multiple languages. In this field the competitors are CatchFlix.com, ClixFlix.com, HomeView.in and CineSprite.com
Zoho is a sponsor of ReadWriteWeb and it is from India. It produces world class collaborative tools and is highly regarded in India.
There are a number of sites where one can upload the pictures of a trip to Disneyland - and a copy of those pictures will be mailed (as in snail mail, not email!) to the family in India. This service is targeted towards Indians who are in the US or UK, and whose family don’t have internet services in their home in India. Players in this field are 123Shots, itasveer, Picsquare and Merasnap.
Other notable sites
- Pixrat.com is a popular social bookmark for pictures.
- Burrp! is a fun and easy way to check out and share reviews and recommendations about establishments in your city and your neighborhood.
- Tezaa is an online community that is all about polls.
- MouthShut.com is a platform for consumers to voice their opinions on thousands of products and services.
- DesiMatch.com is a dating site.
- RadioVeRVe (formerly Infinity Radio) is for independent musicians across the country to promote themselves.
- Bixee.com is a web-crawling robot that visits websites containing job information.
- BangaloreLive.com and MumbaiLive.com are sites providing local news, music and gossip.
- MeraVideo.com and ApnaTube.com are video sharing sites.
Richard's note: I want to thank Neeraj very much for all the great information in this post. As with all the other International posts we've done on Read/WriteWeb, there are bound to be web apps we've neglected to mention. For that I apologize in advance, but please feel free to add them to the comments here. Also if you are familiar with India's web market, we'd love to hear your views and stories.
This post is part of Read/WriteWeb's continuing coverage of international Web markets. Other countries profiled so far have been Germany, Holland, Poland, Korea, United Kingdom, Russia, Spain, China, Turkey, Italy, Brazil, France and Japan.