A huge part of the metaverse will be built in India because of the large pool of developer, entrepreneur and creator communities in the country, Meta (formerly Facebook) CEO Mark Zuckerberg said on Wednesday, referring to what he and other technology companies are touting as the next version of the mobile internet.
“Seeing the developer ecosystem, the ecosystem of individual entrepreneurs, the spirit around that is one of the things that makes India so special. We are going to see a huge amount of stuff being built here in India,” he said at the social media giant’s second Fuel for India virtual event.
Defining it as an “immersive and embodied” version of the internet “where you feel like you are there”, Zuckerberg said the metaverse cannot be built by a small number of companies or without a commerce model around it. Some of the use cases he outlined for the proposed digital world are gaming, sports, entertainment, fitness, education and training, which would require creators and businesses to power them.
“When we think of where all these creators and developers are going to come from to build the foundation of the metaverse, it’s obvious that India is going to be a huge part of that,” he said, adding that India is the biggest country in the world using the group’s Facebook and WhatsApp apps. Instagram usage is also growing incredibly quickly, he added.
There are two things that make India an attractive proposition, Zuckerberg said, for his plan for the metaverse – entrepreneurial spirit and the scale of what can happen.
India is Meta’s single largest market with more than 500 million users of its family of apps. It had around 530 million WhatsApp users, 410 million Facebook users and 210 million Instagram users as of February 2021, according to then IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad. Other tech apps Twitter and YouTube had 17.5 million and 448 million users.
“We just want to make sure we do our part to continue unlocking the potential because the experiences people build here are going to make people’s lives better all around the world,” said Zuckerberg. The company is planning to hire 10,000 people in the European Union to develop what it calls the metaverse. But no such India-specific plans have been announced so far.
Meta has also reported a 41 per cent jump in its annual gross advertising revenue in India at Rs 9,326 crore as of March 2021, according to its filing with the Registrar of Companies.
The firm makes money by displaying advertisements on its platforms (Facebook, Instagram and Messenger) targeted at its users based on their history on its platforms and the impressions generated through that for advertisers.