India is a key market for internet and social media giants with more than 1.3 billion people. A market that YouTube and WhatsApp were apparently able to conquer as the two companies skyrocket closer to half a billion users, TechCrunch reported on Monday, January 11, 2021.
WhatsApp and YouTube are conquering India
In mid-2019, WhatsApp had 400 million users in India. The closest competitor at that time was already YouTube, which, according to estimates by App Annie, had 260 million users at that time. Since then, things have turned in the right direction for Facebook and Google businesses.
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As of December 2020, WhatsApp had more than 422 million active users per month on Android. For its part, YouTube caught 425 million monthly active users, including on Android. By adding iOS users, WhatsApp then had 459 million active users, and YouTube, not far behind, had 452 million.
What’s even more impressive is that 95% of monthly active WhatsApp users in India use the app every day, and almost all users log into the messaging service at least once a week. An equally spectacular result on YouTube, where three quarters of the monthly active users use the video platform every day.
How did Facebook and Google achieve such success?
To get there, Facebook (parent company of WhatsApp) and Google (parent company of YouTube) have invested heavily in the sub-continue for good reason … if India already hosted more than 1.2 billion inhabitants at the beginning of the decade it had at that time only 50 million internet users. The first step was therefore to provide an Internet connection to as many Indian citizens as possible.
To this end, Google started a project in 2015 to install Wi-Fi at 400 stations across the country. A program that Mountain View has built on its success and expanded to other public spaces in India. In the same year, Facebook tried to launch Free Basics on the subcontinent. This smartphone platform would have enabled the country’s residents to access certain basic services on the Internet free of charge. After the project was banned, Mark Zuckerberg’s group worked with local operators to set up Internet access points in rural areas: the Express WiFi program.
The two giants could also rely on the initiatives of Mukesh Ambani, the richest man in India, who had made it his mission to “connect the country”. The owner of Reliance Jio, the subcontinent’s leading operator, has made it easy for millions of people to connect to the Internet by offering mobile communications at discounted prices. Such a success that Facebook and Google subsequently invested millions of dollars in shares in the Indian company.
Thanks to all of these efforts, India now has more than 600 million internet users. Together they form a strong market that offers large internet companies a wide variety of opportunities. Opportunities that Facebook and Google want to continue to use. Mountain View also announced in July 2020 that it would invest $ 10 billion over the next 5 to 7 years to accelerate India’s digital economy.