LinkedIn witnessed 73% YoY increase in the number of student sign-ups in India the quarter ended March 2023: Satya Nadella
India is an important market for the company and it is witnessing strong demand across industries in the country: Microsoft India CEO
India has emerged as an important market for tech majors, with the likes of Google, Meta, Amazon, Microsoft, Apple and Netflix scaling up their operations in the country
Networking platform LinkedIn saw its India user count soar 19% year-on-year (YoY) to more than 100 Mn at the end of the quarter ended March 2023.
“… We now have 100 Mn members in India, up 19%. And as Gen Z enters the workforce, we saw 73% year-over-year increase in the number of student sign-ups,” said Microsoft chief executive officer (CEO) Satya Nadella during the quarterly earnings conference call.
On the sidelines of the release of the financial report, a senior Microsoft India executive also reportedly touted India as an important market. The CEO of its India arm Irina Ghose told CNBC-TV18 that the company is witnessing a strong demand across industries in its ‘important’ country.
Ghose also said that the company plans to deploy more investments to scale up its local cloud infrastructure, adding that it has already doubled its cloud capacity in the country since the pandemic.
Earlier in February, LinkedIn India’s country manager Ashutosh Gupta said that the platform had surpassed the 10 Cr members mark in the country. Back then, he also said that India was the fastest growing market for LinkedIn in terms of member engagement, with local users, on average, spending more than 4.6 Mn hours on the platform in 2022 alone.
Acquired by Microsoft in 2016 for more than $26 Bn, LinkedIn is a major player in the business and professionals networking space. Catering to college students and prospective employees, LinkedIn counts India as a major market owing to the country’s vibrant younger demographic and a huge talent pool.
Big Tech And India’s Digital Economy
LinkedIn’s growth is a recurring theme across the Indian digital landscape, which is largely driven by cheap internet rates and affordable smartphones.
Indians spent a cumulative 0.74 Tn hours on mobile apps in 2022. The country also accounted for more than 28 Bn apps downloads in 2022, contributing 5% to the total global tally. Alongside, India was home to 700 Mn active internet users at the end of 2022.
This huge market attracts big tech companies and social media platforms which are looking to leverage the country’s digital economy to shore up their numbers. As a result, tech majors such as Google, Meta, Amazon, Microsoft, Apple and Netflix have scaled up their India operations.
Be it big-ticket investments in Indian startups and enterprises or setting up local offices, these players are braving everything from regulatory hurdles to legal challenges to grab a slice of the burgeoning Indian digital markets. Many such as Netflix, Google and Meta have resorted to India-specific offerings and products to cash in on the growing ecosystem.
As a result, India is one of the biggest markets globally for these players. While Google has a $10 Bn India Digitization Fund (IDF), players such as Microsoft and Meta have pumped billions of dollars to woo Indian customers.
Late last year, a senior Meta executive said that India has emerged as the most significant country to pilot new offerings. Its products, including Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, enjoy widespread popularity in the country and is an INR 1.61 Lakh Cr market for the company.
On similar lines, Twitter counts India as one of its biggest markets, by user count, in the world. Players such as Microsoft and Amazon have also ramped up investments to scale up their cloud and marketplace business, respectively. Amazon recently also expanded focus of its mega $250 Mn fund to invest in homegrown startups.
With the space only expected to get competitive going forward, the biggest challenge before these big tech giants appears to be regulatory bottlenecks. With many platforms locked in legal cases, the companies are walking a tightrope between regulatory compliance and managing operations without a hitch in the market which is important for their growth.