Sunday, November 19, 2006

Cybercafes: Alive and Kicking

Someone asked in the Venturewoods blog if Cybercafes are dead. " If you consider urban penetration of PCs, it will be close to 75%, If you look around who doesn’t have PC at home.", was the comment, specifically.

Cybercafes and dead? Urban penetration of PCs is still less than 15% from my experience. Heck, in Bangalore, with an urban population of 7 million, there are less than 300,000 home PCs. [1]

Cyber cafes are the choice for a huge number of people, which is why the Satyam Infoways and the Reliance Webworlds are doing so much business. In fact there are “remote” courses (basically those that involve long distance learning) that enforce testing Reliance Webworlds (including the IIMs!)

Also, the next big thing in cities (and even small towns) nowadays is to use cyber cafes for stock trading. And this is so popular that broker have set up their own terminals for the day traders, becoming vertical versions of cyber cafes. The money is in the brokerage, not in the lending of a computer for a few hours.

But the masses have still not adopted home computing. The masses do not include people who sip coffees at barista or pay Rs. 250 for a movie ticket or eat at restaurants where each dish costs more than Rs. 200. And the masses are more than 90% of our population.

1. My estimate. I haven't googled enough to back this up.

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