The world's largest media conglomerate, Time Warner Inc.'s America Online Internet unit has recently launched its first country-specific web portal in India, including sections covering International Music, Sports and Bollywood buzz.
America Online, the Internet arm of media giant Time Warner, aggressively expanding its boundaries, has lately launched a web portal in India, including sections dedicated to sports and entertainment.
As part of AOL's global expansion plans, the new site will have tailored entertainment and news and feature much of the same features...
from its U.S. site AOL.com, such as free access to e-mail with unlimited storage, leading safety and spam protections, instant-messaging and mobile access, as well as other mobile services, such as messaging and downloads.
AOL, which approximately has 238 million users in the United States, neighboring nations and parts of Europe, is seeking to compete with rivals Google and Yahoo! in tapping the billion-strong and rapidly expanding global online community.
"We are going to be very aggressive in our rollout," Ron Grant, president and chief operating officer, told reporters in Bangalore, southern India. "Over the next few months you will see a series of launches internationally."
India is one of the world's fastest-growing online markets, and our India portal will help us compete for users and advertisers in this important region, said Grant, who launched the service at a press conference in Bangalore.
"AOL is one of just four companies with the scale, the network infrastructure, the resources, and the products to compete on a global level, and we plan to fully utilize those advantages as we enter new markets, Grant added."
The Dulles, Virginia-based Company has also been given a free hand by its parent to make acquisitions as part of the expansion, in which India will play a central role, he said.
Underscoring the importance of India to its global expansion, AOL named Maneesh Dhir in January to oversee its international operations.
We have chosen India as the first country-specific portal on the basis of Internet users in India. "With the current population of 45 million Internet users, we hope to grow to 100 million users by 2010".
AOL's Indian portal is the first from the company targeting the growing internet population in the Asian market. India and china are two of the fastest growing internet markets in the region. Our entry in the Indian market is not very late," Grant said.
Sources: http://news.yahoo.com/, http://www.dailyindia.com/,
The Indian portal from the company is in English language though the company is expected to expand the availability to regional languages to cater to a larger segment of the Indian market.
The website aims to combine the best of America with the best of India.
In addition to communications tools and services, AOL.in also gives users a wide range of content designed specifically for India, including robust video and special channels dedicated to Bollywood, CityGuide, Cricket, Education, Hollywood, News, Sports, International Music and a Gurus channel with video advice from local and international experts.
Grant declined to name the next markets targeted by the 7.9 billion dollar company, which is offering Indian users new-generation e-mail, messenger and mobile services, videos from affiliates Warner Bros and Cartoon Network, news, sports and entertainment on www.AOL.in.
The new e-mail service has been launched in India ahead of North America and boasts unlimited storage space, spam and virus protection and mobile access. "We are making a powerful statement about the importance of India to AOL and the online world," said Maneesh Dhir, AOL's Bangalore-based executive vice president, international.
"AOL.in is our first portal launch outside of North America and Europe, and it shows how committed we are to this market."
Google, Yahoo!, MSN and local web companies such as Rediff.com and sify.com already have a sizeable share of the Indian internet market, which the AOL official said is still in its infancy and forecast will grow in the high double digits "for a number of years."
AOL has more than five years' history working and building new services in India. The Company's Bangalore Service Centre opened in 2002. In 2004, a Software Development Centre was established to help develop applications and products for AOL. In 2005, the company's Knowledge Centre was launched, devoted to business analysis, search operations, and technology support.
"AOL.in shows how we can quickly move into an important market like India with a strong, local offering that meets the needs of its online users, said Maneesh Dhir."
"This is only the first step in our evolution," Grant said of the launch.