Facebook is giving away Rs. 50 worth of mobile talk time (minutes) to new mobile users in India. This pilot scheme was launched last week and offers the give away as part of a referral program. Many have suggested that this may lead to a flood of fake Facebook profiles – however, it seems that there are sufficient preventive measures in place. Instead, this is a clear play by Facebook to increase its penetration of the nearly 1 billion mobile user population in India and comes on the back of earlier offers of free Facebook access. Will it work? This is a long term play – don’t expect a bump in share price due to this in the short term.
- Scheme is only for new users and not for existing people on Facebook and is valid for registrations through mobile only.
- New user has to registers himself/herself to Facebook through mobile using the URL – m.facebook.com/tt.
- After registration he/she has to provide his mobile number on the Facebook Talktime page.
- Once you sign up and confirm your account, a talktime of Rs. 50 will be credited to his/her account within 3 days.
Reliance Communications, India‘s second largest telecom operator, has announced that all Android smartphones sold in India for the next two years, will come with a free bundled 3G connection (albeit, with a 1GB limited download capacity). This marks the first major competitive move by a telco in this fast growing market segment, to grab market share by providing free connections. This will help moving consumers from the slower and cheaper 2G data connections (which cost 2$ a month for 2.5 gb) to the more pricier 3G connections (which cost $15 a month for 3 gb).
Android currently rules in India’s small, but fast growing smartphone segment. With its large installed base of cellphone subscribers, it offers a huge market opportunity, which Google seems determined to tap.
Image via Economic Times
RCOM and Google have entered into a two-year deal according to which all Google-endorsed android mobile devices from companies like Samsung, HTC, Sony Ericsson and LG will come with the telco’s third generation, or 3G, mobile connection with 1 GB of free downloads for the first six months.
Read more at Google-endorsed Android smartphone will come bundled with a Reliance Communications connection – The Economic Times.
Gartner forecasts that emerging markets will generate $1.22 trillion in IT spending in 2012. This represents more than 31 percent of the projected worldwide IT spend of $3.7 trillion (see that report here).
Image via Wikipedia
The BRIMC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, Mexico and China) alone will account for 17% of the global total, representing nearly $658 billion.
via Gartner Says Emerging Markets Will Generate $1.22 Trillion in IT Spending in 2012.
Box.net (which is moving from being a cloud based storage to a cloud based enterprise sharing and collaboration platform) looked at its 8 million users and developed the below infographic – a key highlight is that mobile adoption of box grew nearly 9 times in the past year and though iOS still rules the roost, Android adoption by businesses has seen a huge boost (10x for tablets, 4.3x for phones). India remains Android land – a majority of mobile Box users access the platform using Android devices.
Image by Box
See the original infographic here.
Google’s India strategy has taken another critical step forward with the addition of 19,000 episodes of 300 Indian TV programs in six different languages. These programs come from YouTube‘s TV partners - Sony Entertainment Television, Colors, ImagineTV, Star India, and VikatanTV.
This addition of content comes on the heels of the huge success of Google’s YouTube BoxOffice, which offers free Bollywood movies. As I had mused earlier,
The rapid growth in internet users, expected proliferation of smartphones, and increasing availability of free, legal online content in India can together have potentially massive impacts on consumer viewing & consumption habits. Is Google’s offering of free Bollywood movies just a strategy aimed at growing internet adoption or a harbinger of the future? A future where copious amounts of digital advertising will make Indian movies free for online consumers? A future where the internet will become a viable 3rd channel for production houses and movie studios in India?
Image via Google
Read more at YouTube Blog: 19,000+ episodes of Indian TV on YouTube Shows.
CyberMedia Research has found that mobile phone shipments in India reached 166 million units during January to November, 2011. Multi-SIM phones dominate the market with over 54% of total shipments in November 2011. Nokia leads this segment with 19% market share. Total 3G phone shipments touched 15.5 million during this period. Even more surprising was the news on the smartphone front -
Smartphone shipments in India crossed 10 million units for the first time in 11 months of ended November 2011, account for over 6% of total market
|Table 2. India Mobile Handsets Market: Shares of leading Vendors in Smartphones during November 2011*
|* Source: CyberMedia Research India Monthly Mobile Handsets Market Review for November 2011
Image via Wikipedia
Read more at India Mobile Handsets Market in November 2011.
As part of its continuing push to grab market share by growing the Indian online market, Google has released a new video. The video, termed ‘Tanjore – The web is what you make of it’, depicts the opportunities and potential of having a web presence.
Inspired by the real story of G. Rajendran, an artist from Tamil Nadu (Southern India) who used the web to bring the dying art of “Tanjore” paintings back to life and became a successful businessman in the process.
With entrepreneurship becoming cool in India, a couple of India-focused Angel funds have been announced in the past few days. The India Internet Group and the Harvard Business School Angels of India are aiming to invest in India-based, early stage tech start-ups.
Image via Wikipedia
A new startup accelerator called the India Internet Group (IIG) is debuting today as fund to invest in India-focused, early stage internet and mobile startups. The size of IIG is $2.5 million and with an average investment size of $50,000 to $250,000.
There are also several other Angel investors who are starting to have a good look at the emerging tech scene in India.
Harvard alumni Raj Chinai and Ramesh Shah, in collaboration with Harvard University, have recently co-founded and launched Harvard Business School Angels of India (HBSAI), an India-centric angel investing organisation. Incidentally, HBSAI happens to be the country’s first international angel network. It was first started with a Northern California chapter in 2007 and is currently present in nearly half a dozen countries across the globe.
While the group is sector-agnostic, it is likely to have a skew towards technology and technology-enabled start-ups, and will invest approximately $250-500K per deal.
Read more at Harvard Business School Angels To Invest 0-500K In Start-ups « Biz Tech « Techcircle.in – India Internet, mobile, consumer tech, business tech, Entrepreneurs Debut $2.5M Accelerator To Invest In India-Focused Startups | TechCrunch, and Early Investing In India Is A Nightmare — Now This Guy Wants To Fix It.
The Genographic Project, run by IBM Research and National Geographic, has collected 470,000 DNA samples from the public by employing a thorough ethics policy. The research has contributed towards the genomics and computational biology areas by finding support for a migration route from Africa to South India.
… our findings showed that Eurasian groups were more similar to populations from southern India, than they were to those in Africa. This supports a southern route of migration from Africa via the Bab-el-Mandeb Strait in Arabia, before any movement heading north. It suggests a special role for South Asia in the “out of Africa” expansion of modern humans.
Image via IBM Research
Read more at IBM Research: Linking genes over generations.
Several economic indicators are turning red for India. Instead of the predicted double digits, GDP growth is expected to languish in the 5-6% range in the present and coming years. The rupee is at a life time low and the stock market is the worst performing index among developing nations. Several factors are blame, including high interest rates (which are necessary to control runaway inflation of 9-10%) and a governance deficit (no major economic reforms have been passed in the past 6 years).
Image via Wikipedia
Other underlying structural problems in the economy include a banking system crippled by bad debts, and stubborn current account, trade and fiscal deficits.
India’s economy can seem like a bicycle—it needs to keep moving fast to be stable. Once conviction in the destination falters, companies curb investment and hope turns to fear that the country’s problems may be intractable.
It seems that inflation is the root cause of several of these problems – much of food inflation is caused by the country’s creaking infrastructure that leads to severe waste and fluctuations in commodity and food prices. This puts the recent reversal of a decision to allow international organized retail players into India, into greater focus. Scholars have long argued that FDI in the retail sector will help develop the necessary supply chains and cold storage infrastructure that a 21st century economy needs. It will also help to drive down food prices, benefiting consumers and the country’s growth prospects in the long run.
Read more at India’s economy: Slip-sliding away | The Economist.