India has now become the second-biggest internet-using population around the globe after it beat out the United States this year.
South Asia, and specifically India, is being primed as the next big market for tech-companies to exploit. According to Mary Meeker’s annual report for 2016, India now has a total of 277 million internet users. Even though internet penetration in India is around 35% compared to 88.5% in the United States, the sheer size of Indian population leads to more internet users than the United States. China, meanwhile, retains the crown of being the biggest country in the world in terms of internet users.
Nearly 42 percent of the world’s population now has access to the internet. That’s three billion users.
The growth rate of internet users too was the fastest in India at an incredible rate of 40 percent, a 7 percent jump from last year’s 33 percent and it looks like it will remain that way for some time. The rest of the world, however, is growing only at a 7 percent rate in terms of internet users. As said by Mary Meeker’s report, “New internet users are going to be harder to find”.
Tech giants including Google, Apple, Microsoft, and Facebook are already deeply immersed in a race to reach the “next billion” users and India is the main target for all of these companies. Google has its solar-powered drones and a free internet for all railway stations in India project while Facebook has been working on its “Free Internet Basics” service. Apple too is trying to capture the Indian market with its app development accelerator and a full-fledged development center. All this combined effort has managed to push India in becoming a force to be reckoned with in the modern age of technology.
Pakistan is also working on its own free Wi-Fi projects in different provinces including Punjab, KP and Sindh but the progress rate is too slow to actually make a big impact. At this rate, Pakistan still has a long way to go to adapt to the internet age.
Source-Mary Meeker Image-IndianExpress