India is the 7th largest country by area, the 2nd most populated nation, and growing at 7.3% per year, is now the world’s fastest-growing economy, ahead of the likes of China.
Although there are 125 million English speakers in India, this only accounts for 20% of the population, so what about the other 80%? There are 22 official languages in India, with a further 122 major languages, and more than 1,599 dialects. The most commonly spoken languages in India include Hindi, Urdu, Tamil, Bengali, Punjabi, Gujarati, Marathi, Oriya, Kannada, Telugu and Malayalam. There have even been recent proposals to add Hindi and Bengali to the list of official languages of the United Nations.
Because of these statistics, communicating with customers in their local language in India has started to become more commonplace than using English.
Earlier this year, KPMG and Google commissioned a report, looking at India’s online activity; specifically focussing on language usage. The report highlighted that in 5 years’ time, 9 out of every 10 internet users in India will be Indian language speakers (536 million).
One of the contributing factors for this colossal growth is the prolific rise in mobile adoption across India. By 2020, there are set to be 750 million people in India who own a smartphone, which would make India the 3rd largest smartphone market in the world, behind the US and China.
A government initiative entitled “Digital India”, aims to provide support for technology, administration, business planning and IT infrastructure. Big firms such as Google and Microsoft have already made massive inroads in this area, providing technology and font support for such services.
The rise in smartphone usage in India has also led to an increase in e-Commerce activity – estimating the current market at $24 billion. Consumers will watch an advertisement on TV, and can now easily buy goods online on their smartphones. Just a few years ago this was not even a possibility for the majority of the Indian market. Many banks and FinTech companies are starting to launch innovative e-wallet apps, which are beginning to make waves across India.
With this increased adoption of smartphones, a rise in e-Commerce activity and easier methods of payment arising, the need for website and app localisation will only continue to grow across India.
The Indian Government has recently launched a campaign entitled “Make in India”, which is designed to encourage national, as well as multinational companies to manufacture their products in India. This campaign has really boosted the local manufacturing industry in India, and has also attracted a great deal of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). India has already overtaken the US and China as the top destination for FDI.
Manufacturing firms establishing their presence in India need to comply with local legislation and localise their material, and IT firms (especially telecoms, education and e-Learning) will need to focus their efforts on languages too.
Capita plc has several offices in India, recognising the importance of this growing nation. Our language services division is no exception, and we continue to expand our presence, talent and workforce in this market.
There is no doubt that India is fast becoming a vital hub for the language services market, with a multilingual talent pool, educated linguists, highly-qualified tech graduates, design and typesetting specialists and talented IT engineers. The US and Europe typically see the majority of established language service providers, but India is providing the demand, so language companies must now supply.
This infographic below indicates some of the key facts and figures about business in India.