Indian businessman Navin Bhartia's Internet habits make him a dream customer for billionaire foreign media moguls like Rupert Murdoch.
The 45-year-old from Kolkata likes to buy homes online, sometimes without visiting them. In the last four years, he has bought five properties for 40 million rupees ($641,900) on Proptiger.com, partly owned by Murdoch's News Corp.
Foreign investors like Murdoch have already put more than $200 million into portals that help people like Bhartia buy homes. Spurring the interest is Prime Minister Narendra Modi's vow to provide a house to every Indian family by 2022 as the country's growing army of Internet users embrace e-commerce.
"Scale and growth of businesses like (online retailer) Flipkart are a proxy that consumers in India are comfortable doing transactions on the Internet," said Mukul Singhal, principal at India-China fund SAIF Partners, which has invested $10 million in Proptiger. News Corp has a $30 million stake.
India's Internet legion, already bigger than Indonesia's 250 million population and growing at an annual rate of more than 20 percent, has also lured property portal investment from the likes of Japanese telecoms-to-media firm SoftBank Corp.
Recently, Google Inc's Google Capital unit invested an undisclosed sum in Commonfloor.com.
Text: Aditi Shah, Reuters
Image: Labourers work at a construction site of a high-rise residential building in central Mumbai August 25, 2014.
Image courtesy: Reuters