Ten years ago India had a population of 1.015 billion, and only
5 million internet users. Today it is the second most populous
country in the world with 1.17 billion people, and 81 million
citizens use the internet.
That is an astounding internet use growth rate of 1,520 percent
over ten years. If you think this growth creates opportunities for
investment, you're on the right track.
Right now, India accounts for over 15% of the world's
population, but still only 4% of internet users. That number is
sure to expand as the country's population, and infrastructure,
There are companies operating in India that are well positioned
to benefit from internet based growth in that country. Find these
companies now, keep a close eye on them, and buy shares when the
timing is right and you'll likely profit from this trend.
Take a quick look at this chart - it shows worldwide internet
user growth over the past 15 years. The trend depicted in this
chart is as strong a trend as you're likely to ever find - a steady
climb from 16 million users in 1995 to 1.65 billion in 2010.
The punch line is that investors who don't have access to
internet growth in some shape or form are missing out.
We're all well aware of the investment thesis for putting money
to work in emerging markets like India; that these countries are
growing far faster than developed markets so the right investment
exposure could vastly outperform developed market investments.
The trick, as always, is to find the right investment exposure.
I highlighted India's population growth and its exponentially
faster growing internet penetration. The chart above shows growth
in internet use on a global scale.
Now let's take a quick look at one Indian company that has
exposure to these trends.
As the first private Internet service provider (
) in India,
SIFY Technology (Nasdaq: SIFY)
is now India's largest broadband service provider. The company
provides internet and extranet services, website hosting and
design, search engine optimization and security solutions - all the
typical things you would expect from an ISP
The macro-trend here is that rapid real GDP growth of around 9
percent for the past five years, coupled with growing internet use,
means a bigger pie for ISPs like SIFY.
skyrocketed last week after the company announced a new partnership
with Saudi telecom. The press release indicated that
will provide ICT services to the Middle East's largest telecom
As you can see from the chart below shares of the Indian-based
internet and network services firm have doubled over the past four
Even after this rally this company only has a market cap of $232
million. But while the company has posted positive EBITDA (earnings
before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) margins in
the last few quarters, it is still not a profitable business. Net
loss in the last quarter was $2.09 million.
In the third quarter of 2010 the company brought in $38.7
million in revenue, and during the preceding nine months generated
$3.56 million in cash from operations. With a young company like
this we want to keep an eye out for improvements in gross margins,
profitability, and reliable cash flows - these improvements will
lead to higher share prices in the future and make for an
As infrastructure expands and broadband use inevitably rises
among India's population, SIFY will be worth keeping an eye on.
With a population of roughly 1.2 billion and only 6 percent
currently using the internet you can quickly see the growth
potential that lies ahead in this dynamic market.
Also, India has a burgeoning middle class and income levels are
expected to increase 300 percent by 2025. That means businesses and
citizens will have more money available to spend on internet
services, like those offered by SIFY.
A financially improving consumer and enormous room for
e-commerce expansion make SIFY a compelling growth stock in a fast
growing market. That said, I haven't yet completed the in-depth due
diligence that I would do before buying shares, so please consider
this a jumping off point for further research.