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How Overcoming India’s Language Problem Is A Multi-Billion Opportunity For Startups

| Published on March 3, 2020

India is a land of “Unity in Diversity”. According to the Census of India of 2001, India has 122 major languages. Our constitution lists 22 official languages, but it does not represent the ground reality. We 1.4 billion people speak between major 122 languages and 1599 other languages or dialects.

So, what are all these stats for an entrepreneur?

Well, it means a lot!

India has 560M internet subscribers, second-most in the world. And as per Statista, India’s internet users are projected to grow to 666.4M by 2023. Well, you might be well versed with English content among other 175 million English internet users in India, but rest are internet users in their respective local languages.

And above all, English internet users were projected to increase to 199 million in 2021 according to Statista report of 2016 as compared to 536 million internet users in 2021 for Indian language users. I hope now these stats have started making sense. Means, localization is a multi-billion dollar opportunity for startups.

Now comes to localization. Here we aren’t talking only about localization of content on the internet, but localization of services provided by BFSI companies, smartphone APPs and every service based on communication.

According to estimates from a report by MEITY, last year consumer transactions in January 2019 alone stood at INR 1 Lakh crore over 67 crore transactions. The report also suggests a potential of USD 1 Trillion digital payments by 2025.

And another interesting report by a KPMG in 2017 stated that 58% of Indian language Internet users continue to transact through traditional channels on account of the language barrier.

Thus, considering the whole scenario localization seems to be a multi-billion dollar opportunity for startups whether it is Digital Marketing, APP-based services, Fintech or Journalism. And those who will fill the gap first effectively will be the one who reaps the maximum fruit.

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