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Viraj Jit Singh, Chief Marketing Officer, KidZania

Anurag Chhabra, AVP & Branch Head, Percept/H, Lucknow

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 on Business on the Internet: Real or Virtual
(from Left) Amitabh Singal, President, ISPAI,
Arun Tadanki, President & MD, Monster, Asia, and Mahendra Swarup, CEO, Times Internet Ltd.
Look back two years down memory lane. Recall what stormed Global Inc. It was the dotcom bust and the subsequent emergence of a concept called Disintermediation. ‘Flush out the middleman,’ yelled business world over. Marketers drifted to the good-old retail business, leaving behind the much-anticipated and equally thwarted cyber bridge to connect consumers across the world with a single click.

Business on the Internet (call it the ‘middleman’) was set on the ebb.

Revert to the present. Have we really been able to shed off the middleman? Can we think of a business day without the Internet? Nah! Internet is not an intermediary alone; it has emerged as an indispensable part of today’s business.

A glance at the e-world of business would take you to the planet of India’s dominance. As we think of the world of business, can we forget how significant this domain is in building the global economy? And, an obvious question needles: is India poised to grow as an Internet superpower?

Discussions at the Round Table strengthens the thought as Indian Internet top brass dwell on the massive potential the business holds for the days to come. As e-commerce goes all set to leapfrog, it appears to overshadow the retail boom and revolutionise the concept of business.

The Round Table addressed issues relating to business on the Net. How content could drive the Internet from a B2B system to a B2C platform was one of the major areas under the focus. Advertising on the Internet and its potential to gain momentum as an alternative medium of advertising was assessed with a meticulous analysis of issues pertaining to the business on the Net. brings to you the issues in focus.
' Internet has opened a window of opportunity for subscribers and e-commerce certainly has a bright future in the country.'
Business on the Internet will overshadow retail boom: experts

Some two years ago, the very mention of doing business on the Internet drew words of disbelief from a wide cross-section of people. The dotcom burst had indeed erected psychological barriers in the minds of people regarding the potentials of the medium. But the last 12 months have catalysed a distinct shift in the outlook regarding the Internet economy.

The mood is truly buoyant in the Internet industry, and experts view that business on the Net will exert a northward thrust in the next 12-18 months. On this count, the iZone Round Table held in Delhi threw up no contrarian view.

In fact, Mahendra Swarup, CEO, Times Internet Limited, categorically stated during the course of the Round Table discussion that the inflexion point is just 12-18 months away.


e-commerce all set to leapfrog: experts comment at iZone Round Table

Internet has come out of the roller-coaster ride of close to three years with a clear vision of traversing great distances in the realm of information and business in the years to come. Expert opinion has it that the internet would put the telecom industry in the shade over the next year or two. The positive sentiment was writ large at the exchange4media iZone Round Table on ‘Business on the Internet: Real or Virtual’ – organised in New Delhi on March 29, 2004.

Mahendra Swarup, CEO, Times Internet Limited, who was on the panel, said that e-commerce would dwarf the conventional retail business in the country. “Much as we talk about a retail boom, there is a lot that needs to be done in terms of investment in infrastructure which is essential for growing the retail business. But, for e-commerce, the infrastructure is already there. It’s just that business on the net has to gain momentum,” he said.            


'There are 20 million net users in the country which is greater than circulation of all mainline English dailies put together.'

'The content on the Internet needs to be in sync with technology and only new innovations can help in generating commerce for the same.'

Innovation, interactivity amiss in Internet content

Is content truly king on the Internet? The eminent speakers at the iZone Round Table on ‘Business on the Internet: real or virtual’ said that content on the Internet would serve no great purpose if it were to be seen an extension of the print or television. Content drives commerce and for business to pick up on the Internet, the content needs a complete makeover, the experts said.

Illustrating this point, Mahendra Swarup, CEO, Times Internet Limited, the content on the Internet is voluminous but lacks good quality. “There is need to bring in greater interactivity in the content plan,” he said.

Swarup said that the current search engines throw up huge volumes of information. “After few years of evolving a point will come when search for specific purpose will be available. For example, users looking for information on games, news, jobs etc will get the specified results with a single click,” he observed.


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