Google chief picks India over China as best internet bet
India will add a significant part of the next 5 billion Internet users, with maths suggesting that it is the country to look out for, Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt said today.india Updated: Mar 21, 2013 22:45 IST
India will add a significant part of the next 5 billion Internet users, with maths suggesting that it is the country to look out for, Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt said on Thursday.
"This place is going to be rocking," said Schmidt, who is in the national capital for the Google's Big Tent Forum.
"In the short term it is China, but math favours India. And I'm a mathematician," Schmidt said when asked by Guardian's editor-in-chief Alan Rusbridger on his choice on India and China.
Speaking at the question and answer session with Rusbridger, Schmidt expressed great hope for the growth of Internet and broadband users in the country.
He said: "(There are) roughly 600 million mobile phone users in India, there are about 130 million Internet users, (but) there are only about 20 million broadband users. So by any definition India is under-penetrated. And in our book... we talk a lot about the importance of the next 5 billion.
"There are only 2 billion people on Internet in the world today. And many of those 5 billion would be coming from India. So imagine a situation 5 to 10 years from now. When there is a billion people on the Internet. Will they be significantly different from the first 100 million users. I'm sure there will be many more languages and they won't be so English focused."
However, Schmidt added that to achieve this growth India needs to build out the infrastructure and to lower the cost of devices. "I think the sum of all that is that this place is going to be rocking."
On regulation in India, especially clauses pertaining to the liability on the intermediary, he said it is important for service provider to check offensive data being put on the Net.
"India is a country with very very strong element to free speech and public discussion, which is admirable with a strong and vibrant democracy with a strong legal system. There are some clarifications that you needed to some of the aspects of law (section 66) and intermediate liability.
"The reason is that you want entrepreneur to be willing to take risks and if they do take a risk don't want them to be going to jail, unless they are very evil. So for example when content is put up, it is offensive... it will take time to discover its offensive and take it off."