Amazon and Jeff Bezos alike have been working since 2014 to expand their market in India. The country has over half a billion potential internet users that Amazon has already started infiltrating. Just recently the company opened its largest office headquarters in Hyderabad, India’s business district. The building made headlines for its massive size, taking up 9 acres of land, and for the job market expansion it’s bringing in.
Now, Amazon has taken another step to expand its Indian market by finalizing the technology to get their Amazon Alexa speakers to speak Hindi. The devices can now speak and understand the language which is spoken by about 530 million individuals living in India, according to its 2018 census. In addition to every Amazon Alexa device, some second party speakers that are powered by Alexa voice-assist will also be able to speak the language, as well as “Hinglish” which is a hybrid of both Hindi and English. Hinglish is said to be spoken widely across the country.
Amazon’s Newest Headquarters In Hyderabad, India
Experts with Amazon have been working with multiple tech developers in India in order to gain the technology to teach the Alexa hardware how to speak the complex language. Specifically the company has been focusing on working with Hindi voice app developers for around two months, where they’ve conducted workshops to “teach” the devices how to “speak” new languages.
Amazon is already aware of the 600 million internet users in the country, they’re already clearly making multiple business decisions to appease to those current users. However, their biggest goal is to expand their market to reach the additional 700 million individuals in the country who have never even been on the internet. Language is the overlying code that needs to be cracked, India has citizens that speak over twenty languages in a hundred different dialects. Creating technology that can accommodate to any version of any language is what tech developers are working on globally, especially in Asia.
The Asian Internet market is the most lucrative due to the densely saturated populations within every country. However, the diversity in population means a multitude of languages, meaning technology is needed that can work with those languages, this is especially apparent in India.
A Few Of The Newest Amazon Alexa Powered Devices
“India is somewhat unique in the degree to which multilinguality is expressed. Diversity in India is expressed to an extent that one does not see anywhere else. It’s very resistant to standardization of anything.” Prem Natarajan, an Alexa vice president heading the effort to teach the voice assistant new languages, told CNN Business.
Amazon has already introduced a Hindi language setting on its mobile app, pushing itself ahead of the curve in India compared to other tech companies. According to CNN, by 2021 India will have three times the amount of people accessing the internet in their own specific language, compared to those in the country using English.
Amazon has already invested up to $5 billion in India alone, a majority of which went to their new headquarters, all in a greater effort to continue to expand and grow their market in India. “India is important to us, and I think it’s fair to expect us to continue working towards demonstrating that sort of importance and maximizing utility to the Indian user base,” Natarajan said.
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.