India is one of the fastest growing Internet markets in the world, and is going have 500 million Internet users by 2017, according to Google India's search quality strategist Asish Kalsi. Speaking at a gathering organised by Vox Foundation and "powered by Google" Saturday, Kalsi said there will be as many as 400 million Indian users accessing the Internet using mobile phones by next year.
Based on the current statistics, the mobile Internet user-base will grow threefold by next year if Kalsi's estimates are correct. The surge in Internet usage signifies India is on track with Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led Digital India campaign.
"There are 350 million Internet users in India, of which 152 million are mobile users. This number is projected to increase to 500 million in 2017, of which 400 million are going to be mobile users," Ashish Kalsi, strategist, search quality, of Google India was quoted as saying in a PTI report.
While speaking at the gathering of journalists, Kalsi also noted that a website can be discovered quickly on Google Search if it offers accessibility, value, display and great user experience.
"Content is king. What Google does is it gives a level playing field to all, provided the content is sound," he said.
Kalsi's estimates are in line with Google India's managing director Rajan Anandan, who had said earlier this month the Internet user-base in the country is expected to double to 700 million by 2020. Based on the Google executives' projections, nearly 150 million users will be connected by next year and another 200 million will be added over the course of the next three years.
India is at the peak of digital growth, and is second after China in terms of Internet users. There is a lot of growth potential in the country, especially in rural areas, which currently have only 100 million users online.
In January, Union Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had said the Internet user-base in the country would breach the 500-million mark by the end of 2016, which could mean India's Internet growth will take place faster than anticipated.