In India, people speak hundreds of languages.Â Hindi has the largest number of native speakers, and there are also a large number of people whose native language is Bengali or Telugu.Â So, what language Indian domains should you invest in?
In the foreseeable future, I believe that English is the answer.Â English is one of the two co-official languages of India (the other being Hindi).Â While only 250,000 people in India are native English speakers, about 90 million people speak English – more than in the United Kingdom.Â And it’s not just any 90 million people, it is generally the best educated and wealthiest people, the professionals, the businessmen and the government workers.Â These are the people who use the internet, and who buy on the internet.Â Most government, university and large businesses are run in English, and normally the university and business websites don’t even have local language translations.
Recent developments have confirmed the predominance of English in India.Â The Law Commission of India has rejected the use of Hindi in India’s courts.Â They did this on the basis that English is and should be the common language that all lawyers and courts use and that it is important to keep it this wayÂ The CEO of Rediff, a major Indian portal, has gone on record as stating that higher education in India, for example, is predominately in English and English is becoming an “aspirational” language in India.
There have been great pushes to use local languages in India.Â However, despite this, the use of local languages on the Indian web has remained minimal.Â A recent study showed that there were only 1,249 websites in India that use local languages.Â As well, although NIXI has been a great proponent of IDNs, to date IDNs have not been released for .in domains and they have no plans to release them in the near future.Â IDNs are essential to properly use Indian local languages.
From a domainer’s point of view, as after all bills can only be paid banking on what the reality is and not what the reality should be, virtually all of the reported sales of Indian domains are for English terms.
That being said, even native English speakers need to be careful.Â One thing to keep in mind is that Indian English is somewhat different than both British English and American English.Â There is also “Hinglish,” an interesting mixture of English and Hindi.
In the long run, all of the above is likely to change – but it will take many, many years.Â The growth of the internet in India will eventually depend on the use of local languages.Â IDNs will eventually be permitted in the .in extension.Â There is certainly nothing wrong with purchasing prime Hindi or Telugu domains, and I have a few in my portfolio.Â However, it’s important to realize that these domains are in fact a very long term investment.Â In the current environment, and the environment over the next few years, India will be using primarily English domain names.