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India market to turn largest for Zoho in 10 years: founder Sridhar Vembu

Zoho Corporation expects India to become the company’s largest market in the next decade, driven by the country’s rapid growth and demographic dividend.

“India is the fastest growing market. Even when I reported the September slowdown, our fastest growth is in India. That’s very helpful. But globally, there is a substantial slowdown particularly you are seeing in the US…,” said Sridhar Vembu, founder and chief executive of the Chennai-based firm. India is currently the third-largest market for Zoho after the US and European Union.

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“It is just growth rates. With a large economy that we built and with the potential, India has to be the number 1 market for everyone in the world in the next 20 years. It just will happen sooner for us because we are based here. I’m sure that even if you take Microsoft or Google, (even) they are planning for India to be their number 1 market..,” Vembu said in response to ET’s question at a press conference on Monday.

Vembu, who operates out of his native town Tenkasi, said the prediction is driven by India’s demographic advantage as it witnessed more than 20 million child births last year, which is higher than the US, China, Japan and South Korea combined. “So, I’m very bullish on India, but against a global backdrop that is quite bearish because of geopolitical and demographic reasons,” Vembu added.

Praval Singh, vice president of marketing and customer experience at Zoho, said the company has been gaining business as customers have been looking for affordable solutions in a scenario where funds have dried up while clients are optimizing for both cost and value.

Vembu also said that one should throw all business projections “out of the window” and should go by trends on week-to-week or month-to-month basis now on the back of “seriously concerning” developments in Israel. “These are the kinds of things that could turn into something much worse,” he said.

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This comes as the tech entrepreneur tweeted last week that Zoho had witnessed a fairly pronounced slowdown in growth in September across countries and across products. “Given the geographically and product-wise diversified nature of our revenue streams, I suspect the global economy is taking a turn for the worse. Caution ahead,” he said in a post on X, formerly Twitter.On Monday, Zoho also launched additional features on its workplace collaboration platform Cliq such as expanding up to 1 million rows of code for building and running custom low-code apps, video conferencing for Android TVs and running live events. Through the e-discovery module in Cliq, businesses can also access, remove, and recover data as needed and create data retention policies to determine how long the data can be retained before deletion.

On the growth potential when the workplace app market is already crowded with Microsoft Teams and Salesforce Slack, he said Zoho’s product has a better user interface while Slack, in particular, is “slow”. Zoho said it has seen a 30% increase in user migration from Slack and MS Teams in 2022. According to a Statistica report, the revenue of the Indian collaboration software market is expected to be $275.50 million by 2028.

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