Internet Boom in Nepal: The Rise of Online Presence
A few years back, Nepal did not have a plentiful number of internet users, so the internet activities were pretty much limited. Those who had access had limited bandwidth and surfing online was both expensive and poor experience. And suddenly the access to the internet reached new heights, as smartphones became cheaply available with access to cheap mobile data, which led to the exponential growth of online activities in Nepal.
Major telecom providers started investing in network expansion across the country which helped cheaper mobile data plans thus aiding to the internet growth in Nepal. The demand for the infrastructure needed to provide broadband internet is still growing and several private companies have started to seize the opportunity. These companies include Vianet, WorldLink, Subisu, etc. As the internet flourished in major cities and towns, Nepali companies started to show their web presence and investors realized that its time for ripe and harness the online market. This led to the establishment of many online companies. The engine for the growth of internet activities is provided by different factors such as network availability, internet literacy, internet users, their e-commerce habits, and business trends.
According to the Nepal Telecommunication Authority (NTA), in 2017 more than 250 new users were connected every hour. In 2011 only about 9% of percent of Nepalis had internet access, that percentage has gone up to 63% in 2017. Right now more than 70% of Nepalis have access to the internet. The Kathmandu Post has mentioned that the broadband connectivity reach is at 63 percent in 2019. Right now, 95.62 % of Nepalis live in the mobile coverage range.
As the connectivity increased, so did the internet literacy. Nepalis constantly use social platforms like Facebook, Twitter and even LinkedIn. A huge percentage of Nepalis work abroad so this has increased the use of online communication platforms which includes Messenger, Viber, WhatsApp, and WeChat. More than 8 million Nepalis have Facebook accounts.
Gone are the days when no Nepalese would even dare to buy things via online platforms. But now online e-commerce transactions are increasing every day. There are plenty of e-commerce sites available such as Daraz.com, Sastodeal,.com eSewaPasal.com, Muncha.com, Socheko.com, etc. E-Sewa has pioneered the way for online transactions and now there are many online payment service providers like Prabhu pay, IME pay & Khalti pay etc. There are one million eSewa customers and five million mobile banking clients. The online e-commerce market in Nepal is worth more than 25 million USD. The growth exploding at 300% growth annually. People are now using online platforms to buy things. Certain other services are also making their mark on the online industry. Most notable of them include food delivery platforms such as Foodmandu, Bhoj Deal and Food Mario.
Similarly, this online explosion has changed the way people travel. The rise of the ride-sharing platform Tootle and Pathao has not only provided people with transportation choices but also compelled taxi drivers to be more ethical towards their customers. The ride-sharing platforms are arguably the most disruptive ideas and blooming tech startups in Nepal. The most visited sites from Nepal are YouTube.com, OnlineKhabar.com, Google.com, Facebook.com, News24Nepal.com.
As of May 2017, there are more than 50,000 registered websites in Nepal in TLD and ccTLD extensions, including 40,000 commercial websites. It is no wonder that almost all the Travel and Tourism Companies, many Colleges and Universities, Media Houses, INGOs and NGOs, Government Offices, and Banks have an online presence. Many companies are benefiting from this online tech boom in Nepal. These include YouTubers, digital media advertising companies, web design, and development companies. Innovative applications, e-commerce platforms, social media usage has certainly hiked in recent years. This is certainly going to keep growing Internet activities in Nepal to expand more. Sooner or later every business entity will have an online presence.