Recently, Google launched its Music Play Store in India, targeting 300 million users online. With this latest move into the Indian music market, Google isn’t just positioning itself to be a leader in India– it’s positioning itself to be the de facto global leader in VR.
The tech giant is making its first serious forays into the Indian music market, and relatively late. Google Music has taken five years to reach India, and is not the only player in the subcontinent’s online music market. Apple Music, Australia’s Guvara, and domestic Giants Gaana and Saavn are already established, making the competition for Google stiff.
But the music market is just Google’s plan for entry in India.
Google is starting to focus heavily on the subcontinent because it recognizes India’s enormous potential for growth. Indian-born Google CEO Sundar Pichai notes that the subcontinent is in its early days of an internet revolution, and its market will grow to rival China.
With a population of 1.3 billion, India is on track to overtake China as the world’s most populous country, and the Indian market does not have the same barriers to entry or controls that the Chinese market does.
With this latest move into the Indian music market, Google isn’t just positioning itself to be a leader in India– it’s positioning itself to be the de facto global leader in VR.
De Facto Global Leader in VR?
Even without India, Google has started positioning itself to dominate the VR market. The company has stated that there are currently 1.4 billion active Android users worldwide. That means that 1.4 billion now have access Android Nougat (Google’s newest operating system) that features improvements for Daydream, Google’s VR platform.
India’s population of 1.3 billion alone has the potential to nearly double Google’s current user base and audience.
Long-Term Investment in Development
While India clearly has enormous potential for the future, there are only about 300 million Indians are currently online, and not every Indian will be an Android user. Furthermore, not every Indian can afford the Play Music Store prices.
But, Google is developing strategies tailored to the developing Indian market to get more Indians online in the most affordable way.
Billing for the Play Music Store is proving to be the main challenge for the new service due to low debit card penetration, but paying through a mobile operator is an option under development.
Another one of these strategies is encouraging young Indians to use YouTube. In September 2016, Google announced YouTube Go, a ground up redesign of YouTube for customers without access to high speed or high bandwidth internet. YouTube Go designed the app in India.
Enormous Potential for VR
Google’s increasing presence in India at this initial stage shows the company’s readiness to take advantage of future opportunities. They have a long-term strategy that they are starting to execute by developing infrastructure and tailoring it to the market.
It’s true that, at this time, only Google Play Music will be made available in India. However, the future implications for Google as a whole and VR specifically are enormous. Combined with Google’s already extensive VR market penetration in the rest of the world, India’s young population in the midst of an Internet revolution offers Google the potential not only expand their VR market share, but dominate it.