Domain registrar and web hosting company GoDaddy recently launched its services in Hindi, Tamil and Marathi. The $1.6-billion US-based company, which launched operations in India in 2012, claims to have grown massively in the past four years. The company targets SMBs (small and medium businesses) and assists them in bringing their business online. Rajiv Sodhi, Vice President and Managing Director, GoDaddy India and Australia, talks to Business Today about the shift to regional languages and other aspects of the business.
BT: GoDaddy is the world's largest ICANN-accredited registrar with more than 62 million domain names under management. Where is India in this growth?
Until 2012, the company was based only in the US. Then, it decided to go international and launched its business in India. That tells you how important GoDaddy thinks India is. Unlike most tech companies, which migrate from the US to Europe to Asia to Singapore and then come to India, we came directly to India. That has worked to our advantage. India is still GoDaddy's largest presence outside the US.
We are based out of Gurgaon, which is our head office. We also have a care centre in Hyderabad. When we started our care centre, we used to get 3,000 calls a month from India SMBs. Today, we get about 2500 calls a day. Last year, we became the market leader in .in domains, as per the Government of India. Our market share is over 33 per cent.
Also, our paid customer base in India is over 600,000, growing at 36-38 per cent year-on-year. We expect this growth to stabilise as we go forward, as India is now the second-largest connected market in the world. The India business is one of our fastest growing and priority businesses.
BT: Which regions are doing well for you?
Metros are really strong and give us volumes, but growth is in Tier-II, Tier-III cities. So Delhi, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Pune are the cities from where we get a lot of our traffic and call volumes, but we are seeing this trend move to Tier II, Tier-III cities as well.
BT: India has so many languages. Why did you choose Hindi, Marathi and Tamil?
These three languages help us cover 61 per cent out of 51 million SMBs in India. There were also some technology considerations. We have also localised our support. Now, when you call our care centres, you can chose the language and speak to agents in Hindi, English, Tamil and Marathi.
GoDaddy is available in 53 markets around the world, in 26 languages, and 44 currencies. So, our de facto motto is, when you enter a new market, localise the offering and the payment system into that language and come up with offers that are relevant to that market.
Most markets in the world are largely single language countries but India has a large base of English-speaking people, so we to started India with English. But after four years, the market is at a stage where a large part of growth is going to come from regional languages.
BT: You mentioned that you tweak your strategy for any new market you enter. What was your strategy for India?
Word of mouth is very strong in India and that is something we have used in creating awareness. That strategy was completely localised for India. The ads showed here were developed here. They were very different from what we have been showing in other countries.
The second part is driving relevance, which means giving offers which are relevant to the market, bringing products that are relevant to the market and offering payment types that are relevant to the market. For example, we built an online store last year. If an SMB wants to sell online, it can come to us and create its own online store. As e-commerce cannot work without payment, we localised that whole product. India was the first country where we built the CCAvenue payment gateway. That is not available in any other country.
Another good example is hosting. When we came to the country, we realised we need a mini version of our servers. We actually created something. That has been very successful and is being exported and sold in other emerging markets too.
And finally we come to care. We offer 24x7 free customer care both in and out, which means a customer can call us and we can also call him. We have also added web chat. This is the largest care centre GoDaddy operates outside the US.
BT: Are you going to launch services in more languages?
Right now our focus will be to get this right. We want to see the feedback. Once that is there, we will look at other languages. We also look at technology. If technology doesn't support a language we can't take up that language. Also, it depends on how India's Internet grows.
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