Hyderabad: Professional networking site LinkedIn Corp. is evaluating payment options for its Indian users in the local currency as its user base in the country touched 17 million, a 300% growth from November 2009, when it set up operations here. It reported 15 million Indian users in May, accounting for 9.3% of its overall user base.
LinkedIn has three offices in India, including a technology centre in Bangalore.
“We have been dabbling with that (idea of rupee payment option). We are evaluating various options,” Dhiman Mukherji, director, marketing solutions, at LinkedIn said at a digital summit at the Indian School of Business here on Saturday.
Currently, payments on the site for various services, including upgrading to premium membership, are possible only through credit cards. “Everything needs to be in place because where money is concerned, you need to be doubly sure,” said a spokesperson for the site, refusing to give a time frame.
“We are looking at developing languages for A-Pac (Asia-Pacific) as a region,” he said. But, that does not include Indian languages as English is the primary language used by businesses in India, Deepa Sapatnekar, head of communications, India, Korea and Middle East and North Africa, later clarified. “A-Pac remains our focus,” she said over telephone. LinkedIn is available in 19 languages currently.
India, with a population of more than 1.2 billion has only “150 million people who can read or write English”, Rajan Anandan, vice-president and managing director, Google India had said on Friday during the summit. “Beyond those 150 million, English Web will not stay,” he added, identifying it as the next big challenge to address the digital divide in the country.
To be sure, social networking site like Facebook is available in as many as nine Indian languages.
India is the second largest user base after US for the Mountain View, California-based LinkedIn that has more than 187 million members globally. The site adds four million users a month and two members every second, according to Mukherji. “We are no longer a niche channel. We are a mass channel by any stretch of imagination,” he said.
About 91% users on the site are university graduates and 23% of the members access the site using mobile phones and tablets.
Facebook crossed the 1 billion user mark in October, while Twitter had 500 million users globally as of April.