India is vast and diverse. The UN predicts that by 2024, India will overtake China and become the most populous country in the world. It’s already the largest democracy in the world. If you are interested in expanding your global business into new markets, consider these facts:

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By 2030, India will be the world’s largest economy

India displaced China as the world’s fastest-growing major economy in 2014. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) projected an economic growth rate of 7.4% for 2018-2019, and expects growth of 7.8% per cent in 2021-22. Retail and wholesale trade contributes 23% towards the national GDP. In 2017, India took the number one spot on the Global Retail Development Index, as the top developing country for retail investment, pushing China to number two.

The value of the Indian e-commerce market alone, which was valued at $11 billion in 2013, could rise to $137 billion by 2020, according to a Morgan Stanley research resport.

India is the 11th largest importer in the world

India imports about 6,000 commodities from 140 countries. India’s largest source of goods and services is China, with 15.8% of total imports; next come Saudi Arabia and Switzerland, with 5.5% and 5.4% respectively. The United States is tied with UAE for the fourth most important supplier responsible for 5.2% of imports. Currently, India is the US’s 18th largest export market for the United States. According to the Office of the United States Trade Representative, almost half of exports to India are private commercial services (education and business, professional and technical services); others include precious stones, aircraft, machinery, and optic and medical instruments.

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Internet users will demand content in their native language.

Out of the 23 official languages of India, the most spoken language in India is Hindi, with 422 million speakers. The next most populous language is Bengali, with 83 million, followed by Telegu, Marathi, Tamil, Urdu, Gujarati, and Punjabi. Access to mobile networks and devices is growing and so is the use of these languages online; Facebook is available in 11 Indian languages and includes a translation application for improving access to other regional languages. A 2017 report by KPMG and Google predicts that Indian-language Internet users will rapidly outpace English-language users over the next few years. By 2021, nine out of ten new internet users will do so using a local language, and 99% of these will be accessing the Internet through smartphones. Research by localization expert Biraj Rath finds that 43% of urban Indians who do not currently use the internet intend to do so when content in their native language is made available.

What does this mean for your localization program?

Since 2017, the Indian government has mandated Indian language support on all mobile phones sold in the country. By 2022, 35% of the total population will be accessing the Internet through a mobile device. American businesses have long assumed that English was the lingua franca of the more educated and affluent. However, as a whole new population goes online, translation into local languages is essential for reaching a market that is predicted to triple in size over the next few years.

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