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Smartphones Grow India’s Number of Web Users Beyond U.S. Total

Watch out Americans, there’s a new kid on the Internet block. India is poised to surpass the U.S. in terms of its number of Internet users by the end of the year, according to The Hindu, an English-language Indian newspaper. By 2018, 500 million people in India will use the Internet, twice as many as in the U.S., Google India managing director Rajan Anandan told attendees of the “Digitizing India” conference Tuesday in New Delhi. China still remains atop the chart in terms of web users.

Driving India’s move to the web is the proliferation of smartphones across the South Asian country. Mobile devices have helped many more people connect to the Internet, fueling the popularity of online shopping and social media in the country. India was initially slow to move online. It took 10 years for the number of Internet users in India to go from 10 million people to 100 million, according to Anandan. Now, the Google director said the country adds five million new users each month.

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— Jacob Passy