Sunday, July 31, 2011

Where are the Indian e-commerce businesses?

The growth of Chinese internet companies shows that India too will see the rise of internet businesses. The key the Economist says is

- In the West, internet companies replaced traditional companies offering the same service. But in China (and I would argue this is applicable in India too), they are addressing un-addressed markets - so it will be easier to grow since the consumer is comparing the service with not having the service at all.

- Broadband has reached home before organized brick and mortar retailers reach near their home.

You can read the Economist China internet story at

I postulate that the same thing will happen in India too. We will see the rise of several internet/mobile commerce companies in India. One additional Indian dynamic that will help the growth of Indian internet/mobile commerce companies is that India has extremely poor transport infrastructure. Owing to which a lot of people will prefer to shop from home. Some internet services that are currently not available/fully available in India and could serve as a huge business opportunity to entrepreneurs ...

-web search in non-English languages

-mobile phone based search in non-English languages

-an online book store + reader combination. Infibeam has a good reader but they do not have the range of titles and they do not carry enough Indian language titles.

- a text book store - for kids to buy text books.

-a good online music store - where do i go to buy songs and download onto a player. I doubt if everyone wants pirated mp3's on USB sticks. I suspect there are several people who will pay for good quality music downloads that plays well on a good music player. Apple iTunes does not have enough Indian content.
-an English language teaching place integrating internet + mobile + plain old land line phones

- an online counselling business - using internet + mobile + call center for advising kids on which school/college/course to study and how to get internships.

- an online store to buy consumer electronics - with the range of electronics available the e-zones and chromas never carry all the stuff. Ideal for an online retailer.

- i would argue that shoes will work too - just like the american company that amazon acquired some time ago - cant remember their name.

1 comment:

Usha Krishnan said...

I agree that there is tremendous potential in the e-commerce space in India. I'm sure all the businesses you have listed & many more will definitely succeed in the coming years.

But there is an alarming trend that could potentially affect the whole eCommerce space - the eCommerce valuation bubble that's currently being blown out of proportion by VCs investing in anything that says eCommerce. We are soon likely to see a bust similar to early 2000's which could leave eCommerce companies picking up pieces for another 10 years.