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Rural India Has 5.4 Million Active Internet Users


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The number of active internet users in rural India is expected to rise to 5.4 million people by the end of the year, an increase of 30 percent over 2009 figures, according to research jointly conducted by the Internet and Mobile Association of India and the Indian Market Research Bureau.

While 5.4 million is miniscule compared to the estimated 568 million people living in rural India as of 2006, the 30 percent year-on-year growth rate is an extremely promising sign for the future of India’s internet market.

Using data collected in 2009, the report shows that while online, 85 percent of rural users access their email, 67 percent listen to music or watch videos, and 48 percent search for educational information.

Illustrating the importance of farming in rural India, the report also shows that 13 percent check out the latest farming techniques while surfing the web and 8 percent look up information relating to fertilizers and pesticides. Roughly 70 percent of India’s rural users access the Internet through public service centers like cyber cafés.

Citing the rapid growth of the Chinese internet market, a report released today by Boston Consulting Group (BCG) expects the number of internet users in India to reach 237 million within five years.

“The unexpectedly rapid pace of China’s online migration is a sharp reminder of how quickly the other BRICI markets are likely to evolve in terms of Internet penetration rates, the number of hours spent online per day and e-commerce adoption, ” the U. S. -based consulting firm said in its report titled, “The Internet’s New Billion. ” In addition to the BRIC nations of Brazil, Russia, India, and China, the report also throws Indonesia into the mix. BCG believes that the total number of internet users across these five nations will reach 1.2 billion by 2015.

The national internet penetration in India is expected to increase to 19 percent of the population by 2015, up from the 7 percent, or 81 million internet users, recorded in the country last year. The average time spent online in India, though, was lowest among the five countries at a little over half an hour per person per day last year and a little over 40 minutes per person per day forecasted for 2015. In the report, an internet user is defined as someone over two years old who has been online within the past 30 days.

By comparison, the national internet penetration in China is expected to increase from 28 percent in 2009 to 47 percent in 2015 and increase its number of internet users from 384 million to 650 million. The average amount of time spent online in China was 2.67 hours last year and is expected to increase to a little over three hours five years from now.
This article was written for, which specialises in China and India business news . The sites are published by the Asia Business Books store, Asia Briefing, which also publishes Vietnam news site,


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