Google India on Saturday unveiled a special initiative in the county's oldest market — Chandni Chowk of Delhi — by providing free Web sites to 2,500 shops to be accessed by users worldwide.

The company along with HostGator (company hosting Web sites) visited each shop to build this Web site in 30 days between mid-October and mid-November.

The companies will soon build Web sites for the rest 5,000 shops. Developing of the Web sites and hosting for the first year will be free of cost and Google India would charge around Rs 700 annually for each Web site after one year.

“For a business, having a Web site today is as important as having a mobile phone. As part of our commitment we will build over 300,000 Web sites by end of next year and 500,000 free Web sites for small and medium businesses (SMBs) by end 2014,” Rajan Anandan, Vice- President and Managing Director - Sales and Operations, Google India, told reporters here.

He said the company has already created 150,000 Web sites for Indian SMBs located in 7,850 cities.

“Such initiative will help our SMBs to grow their businesses and boost our exports as 40 per cent of exports from India comes from SMBs only,” said the Communications and Information Technology Minister, Kapil Sibal said.

He said Internet is becoming an engine of economic growth and is expected to contribute over $100 billlion (over Rs 5,000 crore) by 2015 to the gross domestic product.

There are 137 million Internet users in India and 70 million users are through mobile phones. The initiative will help boost the users and 47 million SMBs in India could generate a lot more, added Anandan.

(This article was published on December 15, 2012)
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