Monday, February 27, 2006

EBAY Chief Exec Meg Whitman Joins the Asia/India Growth Story

EBAY's respected CEO Meg Whitman came out with very positive comments on the Asian Internet sector. "India is still a small fraction of our global revenues, but in 5, 10, 15 years we hope India will be among our top markets," Ms. Whitman said. See full story here.

This give more credence to the fact that India (together with China and the US, of course) is going to be a major player in the world scene in the years to come. The Indian Internet sector will grow explosively, and EBAY already has it's bets there-EBAY entered India a couple of years ago by buying Bazee.com, the biggest online auction portal in India. Of note-Rediff.com also operates a fairly successful Auction channel.

The story also pointed out that jewelry was sold every 5 minutes in Ebay India, something which even Gautum Thakur, country manager for Ebay India, was surprised to learn.

One should pay close attention to what important people like Ms. Whitman say. These are not observers of the Internet scene, they are the players, they have a major role to play in defining where the Internet is going. And these comments will only bring more long term investors to companies like REDF and SIFY, which by far are the major players in the Internet Scene in India.

In another item out today, SIFY said that it will exclusively (on the Internet) broadcast the presentation of 2006 budget by the Indian Finance Minister P Chidambaram. The program is pretty elaborate, see full details here.

The merging of Medias, TV, cable, Internet etc., as we see in the United States, is already seeing itself emerge in smaller markets like India. This is no surprise-the Indians are huge consumers of TV and Films-Bollywood (the Indian Film Industry based in Mumbai) produces twice as many films as Hollywood in the US. And the Indian Film Industry is much bigger than Bollywood-regional film industries are a major force in the subcontinent. Bollywood makes most of it's movies in Hindi-a language spoken by only 27% of the Indians as their mother tongue.

If the film and traditional cable channels in India embrace the Internet fast, it will be even better news for investors in the Indian Internet Sector.

Sanjay John G.


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