RealTime IT News

India Rocks Internet World

India may have only 1.5 million Netizens, but, if you were at last week's India Internet World, you would have thought differently.

Hosted at New Delhi's Pragati Maidan, there were, according to organizers, over 100 exhibitors, 1,600 delegates, 20,000 business visitors, and 75,000 ordinary visitors at the conference and exhibition, making it the largest international Internet event to date.

The event was set up by Bangalore-based Micromedia on behalf of Penton Media, the Cleveland media company which owns the Internet World trade show line. Micromedia, a subsidiary of Microland -- a major Indian Internet company, organized the first India Internet World in 1998, which was less than half the size of this year's event.

Micromedia's CEO, Prakash Gurbaxani, told asia.internet.com that "the tremendous hype about the Internet" was responsible for the significant turnout at the show.

"People want to know what the hell this animal is," he explained.

Gurbaxani estimates that only 5 percent of the event's general visitors actually have Internet accounts indicating that, with proper infrastructure and connectivity, India could be an Internet powerhouse.

"We just didn't expect this many people," commented Pradeep Kar, the chairman of Microland. "There has been a lot of hype -- media hype -- and everyone has a billion dollar dream."

For the three days of India Internet World, 22-24 September, the show got top billing in the nation's leading newspapers and a large list of government visitors in attendance.

Sources say that even India's top political leadership contenders, Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and Congress Pary President Sonia Gandhi, wanted to attend the event at Pragati Maidan but were politely asked not to come because of the security 'nightmare' that they would have created.

This year, there is an Internet World Hong Kong edition in early November and an Internet World Japan edition in early December.