Yahoo India, the Mumbai-based unit of Internet giant Yahoo Inc., has launched content in seven regional languages, including Hindi, Telugu and Tamil.
The move is aimed at bringing in online users with more spending power from the smaller towns and cities.
Yahoo follows rival MSN, the Internet portal of software major Microsoft, and Mumbai-based Internet portal Rediff to introduce content in local languages to attract more users to their portals in one of the fastest growing Internet markets in the world.
America Online, the largest Internet portal in the US, will launch a portal this year focused on India, first with English language content and then in local languages, said Anand Bhaskar, a spokesperson for AOL India.
“There is an increase in spending power in the smaller towns and advertisers are looking at these areas. There is lot of aspiration among people to be online and they will be more comfortable with local content,” said George Zacharias, managing director, Yahoo India.
MSN India launched its regional portals in Hindi, Tamil, Bengali, Telugu and Kannada in September last year, offering users content relevant to a local audience such as regional cinema, cookery, astrology, jokes and news.
Rediff, which is a portal with a large user base of Indians, has similar content and also allows users to send mails in local languages.
India’s Internet user base is likely to cross 40 million by March, according to a study by the Mumbai-based Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI). The Internet advertising market in India is estimated to be worth $50 million.
“In the next five years, we will see more than 150 million people (from India) using the Internet. The mobile success story could be replicated here, too,” said Zacharias.