Web Hosting for SMBs in India: A promising and vibrant future
The Indian economy has come a long way, evolving from interesting, diverse phases of growth. Being the tenth-largest economy, nineteenth largest exporter, and tenth largest importer in the world, the country is home to a robust population that is educated, enthusiastic, and ready to experience the benefits of new age, breakthrough technology.
The rigid and conservative independence-era Indian economy, lasting from around 1947 to 1991, restricted the free flowing of trade with other countries, isolating the country from the world economy. Fortunately, the doors for the Indian economy opened up in 1991 with the adoption of liberal and free-market oriented principles, setting the repressed economy free, and welcoming the international market. This led to a speedy and swift increase in the country’s economic growth, pumping up the national revenue. Then came in the internet, transforming lives and the very face of business marketing.
Cloud computing for SMBs in India: A golden opportunity
A significantly large number of small and medium sized businesses have flooded the Indian market, and the number is growing as we speak. According to reports revealed by Parallels, a hosting and cloud services enablement provider, the Indian SMB cloud services opportunity in 2012 was worth $220 million, and is expected to grow at 45 percent every year, reaching $664 million in 2015.
These impressive figures are not just estimates that remain inside the pages of a document, but a reality that is unfolding in the ever-growing Indian technology market. With internet usage rising at an unstoppable speed, the need for SMBs to establish a web presence and gain a foothold in the domestic as well as world market has become a paramount issue. Now is the exciting and perfect time for cloud computing companies to offer these SMBs an online platform to exhibit their products and services to the rest of the world.
The Size of the Opportunity
The SMB growth rate in India has been incredible- from 0.87 million in 1981 to 47 million in 2011 (http://ibnlive.in.com/news/google-india-helps-delhis-iconic-chandni-chowk-market-go-online/310713-11.html). However, only 4 million among these have a web presence. The number engaging in commerce on the internet is miniscule.
India’s GDP amounts to $1847.98 billion, and small and medium size businesses in the country constitute six percent of the GDP (about 100 billion USD), 90% of which are industrial manufacturing units. Commerce on the internet (across all businesses) is set to contribute $100 billion by 2015 to India’s GDP. This indicates that the revenue from internet commerce will be almost as big as that from traditional SME businesses. This also means that if SMBs in India tap the potential of the internet with even a small degree of success, the returns would be exponential. Here one of the key challenges is finding and expanding markets, and this is where the internet and cloud computing play a significant role.
The Technology Gap
During the dotcom era numerous websites were created, with only a vague sense that they might be part of something big. While the smarter ones did set the trends and drive technological advancement, the rest just dried up and disappeared. Today, with the power of the cloud and new paradigms of inter-connectedness within easy reach, websites are again being created, but in the mold of their dotcom ancestors. The need of the hour is to leverage these new technologies and reduce the gap that exists between people and technology. Here we think of mobile phones as a close example: Complex engineering that anybody can use and benefit from.
A Small Step in the Right Direction
Google, the world’s most popular search engine, launched the “India Get Your Business Online” initiative in 2011, offering free websites and domains to SMBs in the country. Under this initiative, small businesses can establish an online presence for no cost, and after a year, they need to pay for just the website hosting charges. The very popular Chandni Chowk market in New Delhi is now online, creating a web presence for the thousands of local businesses that have been so far isolated from the web market.
The SMB market in India, with its promising figures and huge opportunities, is expected to transform the way the country trades with the rest of the world. There is huge potential in these businesses that is waiting to be tapped, set up online, and exhibited to a world that is always open to unique, attractive and valuable products and services.