It has taken just about 18 months for professional networking site LinkedIn to raise its subscriber base in India from 3.4 million in December 2009 to 10 million.
LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network, with over 100 million members, started its operations in India in 2009. This included a local leadership team to drive the company’s marketing solutions and corporate solutions businesses. “As our members here continue to use LinkedIn for everything from networking and gaining business insights to business development and jobs, we are committed to being the exchange which connects talent to opportunity in India,” said Hari V Krishnan, country manager, LinkedIn India. India continues to be LinkedIn's second-largest user base.
Krishnan, who took over as country managers almost 19 monthsearlier said his focus was to understand the users in India. “If you look at the overall demographic of the users on LinkedIn, India comes out as a different market. In markets like North America and other leading regions, the average age of a LinkedIn user is 42 years. In India, the average age is 31 years — representing the increasing base of younger professionals and the different stage of professional life. For these professionals, over the next 15-20 years a networking can change their career trajectory,” he said. About 40 per cent of the users earn around Rs 15 lakh a year and almost 80 per cent of the user base are business decision influencers.
Some brands that the networking site works with in India are Volkswagen, Jet Airways, CNN, ICICI Lombard and HopSim. These firms use LinkedIn’s marketing solutions to target advertising campaigns at professionals across various categories. LinkedIn claims its suit of corporate solutions has helped recruiters from blue chip companies like ING Vysya Bank, Genpact and HCL reduce the cost and time per hire in identifying and recruiting some of India’s best talent.
Many hold Facebook, Orkut and LinkedIn in the same league, and the growth of the site may well be a concern for its competitors.
Over the past year, LinkedIn has seen good traction in its paid consumer user base. However, Krishnan believes this does not mean the company is aiming or planning to convert this 10 million base of users into paid users. “While 10 million is a good number, India has 40 million professionals. Our target is to connect all these 40 million," he said. For this, the India team is also expanding fast. While Mumbai is home to LinkedIn headquarters in India, it has also opened offices in Gurgaon and Bangalore. "From a small team of a few people when I joined LinkedIn, we have 30 people on the field,” said Krishnan.
According to Vizisense, in the social networking segment, LinkedIn is the third-most visited site in India after Facebook and Orkut.