Snapdeal goes multilingual seeking next big Indian consumer boom

The move aims to tap the vast majority of local consumers who can't speak or read English

Adi Narayan
Published15 Dec 2015, 04:05 PM IST
The website will be available in Hindi and Telugu starting on Tuesday, and nine other local language versions will be active by 26 January. Photo: Bloomberg<br />
The website will be available in Hindi and Telugu starting on Tuesday, and nine other local language versions will be active by 26 January. Photo: Bloomberg

Mumbai: Snapdeal.com is introducing versions of its popular e-commerce website and app in 11 Indian languages as it seeks to tap the vast majority of local consumers who can’t speak or read English.

The website will be available in Hindi and Telugu starting on Tuesday, and nine other local language versions will be active by 26 January, chief operating officer Rohit Bansal said in an interview. The effort involved about 45 engineers working for six months to ensure that each language’s nuance and grammar was properly handled, he said.

Internet giants and venture capital investors have plowed in more than $10 billion into India’s Internet companies and startups, drawn by the promise of a nation where the number of Internet users is second only to China. Yet an enormous slice of India’s population can’t make sense of most of the online content, because nearly all of it is in English — a language that’s familiar to many middle-class city dwellers but a mystery to a vast portion of the population.

“A large chunk of the growth in Internet users going forward, is going to come from people who do not understand and speak English,” Bansal said in a phone interview. “For the Internet and Internet commerce to be really a part of people’s daily lives, it will need to go beyond just one language.”

Trial websites

An estimated 80% of India’s 1.25 billion people don’t speak English, and the country has 20 other official languages. Snapdeal is expanding its offerings into some of those local languages as the platform seeks to attract users from all parts of the country and offering everything from $5 t- shirts to $500 Apple Inc. iPhones.

Snapdeal last year introduced trial Hindi and Tamil versions of its sites, and those projects functioned as test cases for a more comprehensive roll-out, which will involve enabling translations for all aspects of the portal including descriptions for 20 million products, Bansal said. Its rivals Flipkart.com and Amazon.com Inc. still largely operate English- only sites, though smaller upstarts such as iPay Tech India Pvt. and StoreKing have been focusing on local language platforms as they primarily target users in small towns.

Global Internet companies such as Google Inc. and Microsoft Corp. have begun working to enhance their offerings for non English-speaking Indians getting on the Internet for the first time. Google, whose chief executive officer Sundar Pichai is in India this week to outline the search giant’s plans for India, earlier this year announced partnerships with 18 Indian companies to develop content in local languages. Bloomberg

Catch all the Corporate news and Updates on Live Mint. Download The Mint News App to get Daily Market Updates & Live Business News.MoreLess
First Published:15 Dec 2015, 04:05 PM IST
HomeCompaniesSnapdeal goes multilingual seeking next big Indian consumer boom

Get Instant Loan up to ₹10 Lakh!

  • Employment Type

    Most Active Stocks

    Tata Steel

    157.75
    03:43 PM | 19 JUL 2024
    -8.6 (-5.17%)

    Tata Power

    414.15
    03:59 PM | 19 JUL 2024
    -15.85 (-3.69%)

    Bharat Electronics

    306.30
    03:45 PM | 19 JUL 2024
    -7.2 (-2.3%)

    Zee Entertainment Enterprises

    137.55
    03:57 PM | 19 JUL 2024
    -4.9 (-3.44%)
    More Active Stocks

    Market Snapshot

    • Top Gainers
    • Top Losers
    • 52 Week High

    Tata Teleservices Maharashtra

    102.11
    03:59 PM | 19 JUL 2024
    4.68 (4.8%)

    Rail Vikas Nigam

    614.00
    03:59 PM | 19 JUL 2024
    27.65 (4.72%)

    Jubilant Pharmova

    752.25
    03:43 PM | 19 JUL 2024
    25.3 (3.48%)

    One 97 Communications

    458.70
    03:55 PM | 19 JUL 2024
    13.65 (3.07%)
    More from Top Gainers

    Recommended For You

      More Recommendations

      Gold Prices

      • 24K
      • 22K
      Bangalore
      75,217.000.00
      Chennai
      75,657.000.00
      Delhi
      74,485.000.00
      Kolkata
      74,485.000.00

      Fuel Price

      • Petrol
      • Diesel
      Bangalore
      102.86/L0.00
      Chennai
      100.75/L0.00
      Kolkata
      104.95/L0.00
      New Delhi
      94.72/L0.00
      OPEN IN APP
      HomeMarketsCibilPremiumBudget