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PeopleTechnology

Watch: Zoom top exec Abe Smith on India growth, future outlook

4 May, 2021

With no end in sight for the pandemic in India and a growing number of companies moving towards a long-term hybrid workplace model, video conferencing platform Zoom expects to tap into the opportunity. 

“The popularity of Zoom in India is well known, and the brand is well received. So, we're going to continue to double down. We feel really good about India and our position in the future,” Abe Smith, head of international at Zoom, told TechCircle in an interview. 

Zoom witnessed tremendous growth in India amid the Covid-19 pandemic, with its free user base growing 67-fold between January and April 2020. Its paid user base increased 400% during the same period.   

India continues to be a major market for the San Jose, California based company, which reported 3 trillion minutes of global usage by the end of 2020. 

Smith did not share user numbers in India for 2021. 

“We have made key investments to grow in the country. There are two data centres that we have placed strategically in Mumbai and Hyderabad,” Abe Smith, head of international at Zoom, told TechCircle in an interview. 

In July last year, Zoom said planned to expand its presence in the country with the launch of a new technology centre in Bengaluru. At the time, the company said it would hire DevOps engineers, IT, security and business operations executives in India. “There has been an addition of lots of headcount from financial operations to sales and marketing,” Smith said. 

Rewind 2020: How remote working changed cybersecurity needs in India 

Data from online platform EmailToolTester also showed that Zoom had increased its global market share from 26.44% in 2020 to 48.69% in 2021. However, in India, the data from EmailToolTester showed only a 23.65% market share for Zoom, compared to Google Meet, which is at 54.44%.   

The company’s combined revenues from Asia Pacific (APAC) and Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) regions grew 687% year-on-year, Zoom CFO Kelly Steckelberg said during the company’s fourth quarter (Q4) 2021 earnings call. The company has not disclosed the numbers for the latter part of 2020 or early 2021.   

Additionally, the aforementioned regions accounted for 33% of the platform’s total revenue, up from 20% a year ago, she said at the time.   

It recorded a total revenue of $2.651 billion for financial year 2020-21 (FY21), a 326% increase year-on-year. The company expects its FY22 revenue to grow upto $3.780 billion, with upcoming markets such as India being a key enabler. 

Separately, the company looks to expand its functionality as a unified communications platform, instead of just operating in the video conferencing segment. It looks to cater to a larger enterprise base with a full gamut of services such as video, voice, chat and other app integrations. 

“Gartner in 2020 placed Zoom as a leader for the first time in the unified communications quadrant. There’s diversity and applications that people can use for communications through Zoom, and that creates a whole extensibility for us,” Smith said.   

Zoom, as a horizontal product, caters to financial services, government and educational institutions in India.   

The firm, which offers its service for free to over 2,500 educational institutions globally, sees the Indian education sector as a key market, Smith said.   

“We also recognise the future benefits of categories such as telehealth and telemedicine. We are expecting growth in the healthcare space,” Smith said.   

While Zoom released nearly 400 new features in 2020, some of them, such as ZoomPhone, are not available in India yet. ZoomPhone is a cloud-based system that allows users to make and receive calls directly from Zoom on their phones.   

“I foresee a time when the entire platform and all of our features, including ZoomPhone, will be readily available (in India). We think that there's a meaningful market for our whole services suite of unified communications services in India,” Smith said.