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Google doubles down on India

Google has announced that use of its Google Pay platform has tripled to 67 million users in India.

In a series of announcements Google renewed its commitment to the Indian market, which probably represents its greatest growth opportunity despite the relatively low disposable income of most of its inhabitants. The internet giant has been investing heavily in India for a few years and seems to be happy with the returns.

With a population of over a billion, 67 million users is a relatively small proportion, but it’s likely to keep growing rapidly as the Indian government tries to phase out cash in a bid to tackle the black economy. The growth in Google Pay use also coincides with a boom in smartphone ownership in the country as companies like Xiaomi manage to offer them at the right price point.

Another Google investment unique to India is a free phone line launched in partnership with Vodafone-Idea that allows even those people who can only afford 2G basic phones to use Google. When you call the number you get through to a Google Assistant service that understands both English and Hindi, which you can ask for the weather forecast, sports scores or whatever.

Google has become the company it is by giving digital services away for free and then monetizing the resulting user base. There’s no reason to believe this approach will be any less effective in India, but Google has concluded some unique offerings are required to break into the mainstream. It will be interesting to see how the company manages to coexist with Jio, which has put digital services at the core of its strategy too.

  • TechXLR8


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