Based in: India
The niche: Many technology analysts expect India will be the next big Internet market, surpassing even China as language technologies improve. A poll last year found that 44 percent of Indians want to find content online in Hindi. But India’s national language does not have a unified font structure for display on the Internet, making searches especially difficult. Raftaar is attempting to fill that void by developing an easy-to-use Hindi alphabet feature on its homepage, allowing surfers to type in searches. Since its launch in January, traffic has been inconsistent, but as more Hindi speakers log on, its popularity could explode.
The catch: India is home to 16 official languages and hundreds of different dialects, meaning that capitalizing on the country’s many Internet users is going to be difficult. Sites capable of handling a variety of Indian languages simultaneously are already on the rise and could be the model for future Indian Internet development. Because Raftaar’s searches are Hindi-only, it could be left behind.