LinkedIn, the largest professional networking site is getting its India act in place. With India becoming one of the fastest growing regions, LinkedIn has set up its India office in Mumbai, its first in the Asia Pacific region. The site has close to 50 per cent of its users from outside of the US. India has 3.4 million users of the 55 million user base globally.
Other than appointing Hari Krishnan as the Country Manager, LinkedIn has also pulled in Nayan Patel, who was the director of strategic partnerships for LinkedIn in Mountain View. Patel will be the director of operations at LinkedIn India.
Arvind Raja, Vice President International, LinkedIn, says: “India would be our first office in the APAC region. We have always had a global audience with half of LinkedIn’s members coming from outside India. We were never physically present at several of the geographies, especially in the fast growing region.” Other than India, the firm is also opening an office in Australia.
For Krishnan, 2010 would be the year of laying down a solid foundation for the company. “India is already a sizeable revenue base for India. But now we want to focus on the value that LinkedIn can provide for its users. Most of the top Indian corporates are on LinkedIn and use it for sales and marketing,” he adds.
Among the user groups, Mumbai University from India leads the number followed by Delhi University. Among the Corporates the Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), Infosys Technologies and Wipro account for a large user base.
The company will have a three-pronged approach in India. That would be to build awareness, engagement and monitisation. “The reason is, though we have 3.4 million users in India they are also beginning to do lot more other things on LinkedIn. For instance, there are 30,000 user generated groups in India. That is interesting as users are getting into collaboration mode, they are getting into professional conversation. Also with this focus we not only our own business but also make LinkedIn a productivity tool to build their business,” says Krishnan.
LinkedIn has three revenue major offerings — subscription, advertisement and LinkedIn Software-as-a-service (Saas). These are also available in India. In order to cater to the Indian user the company will come with a subscription model that is specific to India. “It is true that we do not offer a lot of subscription models. But that will change. Some offerings will be tailored according to specific audiences as well as according to geographies. We are looking at this. One of the early focus of Hari and his team will be evaluating these models,” says Rajan.
The other exciting and relevant space for India is the mobile segment. LinkedIn recently launched an application for Blackberry and already has applications for iPhone and Palm Pre. “India will be a key market for mobile solutions. Other than launching app’s for mobile platform we would broadbase our offering to reach a larger audience. We are already working on this,” says Krishnan.
Other than the professional users, the LinkedIn India team will focus on the students’ community. “I think the relationship between the students and alumni is not well-developed in India and we will look at some of these services. Last year, we introduced an initiative in the US, and the response was good. We might look at that as well,” says Krishnan.