Google wants to get more Indian businesses online

People use their smartphones at Mumbai Central railway station in Mumbai, India, where Google has rolled out high speed wi-fi that commuters can access for free.
Dhiraj Singh | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Google's bid to target emerging markets now includes encouraging small and medium businesses (SMBs) in India to make the move online.

"Small businesses that are online actually grow significantly faster," said Rajan Anandan, vice president of Southeast Asia and India at Google.

A study published by Google and KPMG this month found that small businesses in India with a web presence grow their revenues twice as fast as those that without one in 2016.

Titled "Impact of internet and digitisation on SMBs in India," the study also revealed that 51 percent of digitally enabled SMBs were able to sell to customers beyond city boundaries in comparison to just 29 percent of offline SMBs last year.

68% of India's SMEs are not online: Google
68% of India's SMEs are not online: Google

SMBs with a web presence are able to hire up to 5 times more employees than offline SMBs. In addition, the report also found that increased digital adoption by SMBs would potentially increase SMB contribution to the country's GDP by 10 percentage points to 47 percent by 2020.

"This is actually a pretty significant multiplier to GDP when you can get a small business online," Anandan told CNBC's "Squawkbox" on Monday.''

However, to achieve those lofty economic goals, more needs to be done to get business owners digitally connected.

"India has 51 million small and medium businesses and they employ about 120 million people. (SMBs) account for 37 percent of India's $2 trillion GDP. Although we have a large number of small businesses, 68 percent of these small businesses don't have any web presence," Anandan said.

Google is creating train station 'internet cafes'
Google is creating train station 'internet cafes'

One of the measures announced by the company to target the problem and help small business owners capitalize on digitalization has been Google My Business. The tool aims to provide greater visibility to small businesses in India by letting small businesses establish a web presence for free and with just their smartphones.

The My Business tool allows business owners to edit information about their businesses, including contact information, photographs and operating hours. This information then appears to potential customers on Google Search, Google Maps and Google+.

Google's push to get a larger proportion of India's 1.25 billion population online goes beyond targeting only small businesses. The company's Next Billion Users project has been involved in the roll out of infrastructure and measures that enhance connectivity in the country, including the development of 53 "train station internet cafes" and teaching rural communities about the internet through its "Internet Saathi" program.

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