Le Meridien Bets Big On India

The Le Merdien hotel chain plans to double the number of properties in India from 10 to 20 over the next four years. According to the press release, all Le Meridien hotels in India are profitable with average occupancy last year at 83 percent.

Random House Setting Up House in India

According to this article Random House is going to set up a publishing operation in India.

“It’s time a publishing house like Random has a presence in India. It will be publishing for India and in India,” Simon Littlewood, international director, The Random House Group.

Speaking Hinglish

The International Herald Tribune reports that English and Hindi have, for a variety of reasons, merged into a sort of lingua franca in a country with more than a dozen popular languages. Hindi may be the national language of India, but it is not the only language, which makes it politically sensitive. However, if you water down Hindi with English, it becomes much more palatable to a wider audience.

According to the article, ” in the mid-1990s, cable TV started rapidly spreading across India and indigenous music channels started using a mixture of Hindi and English in their programming. What began as spoofs on the English used by Indians were soon transformed into a fizzy mix of the two languages. Suddenly, Hindi with a smattering of English acquired status.”

What I find particularly fascinating is that this new way of speaking, often referred to as Hinglish, is playing a growing role in advertising. According to the article, advertising has “started shifting from pure Hindi or English advertisements to Hindi with a few words of English thrown in. Thus the Pepsi slogan is “yeh dil maange more” (“ask for more”) while Coke relies on “life ho to aisi” (“life should be like that”).

Red Hat to Add Support for Indian Languages

Linux developer Red Hat says it will add five new languages to its next generation of enterprise software – all Indian languages. Equally important, Red Hat plans to offer customer phone support in those languages.

Although the company didn’t say which languages it plans to support (India has 15 national languages), this is a positive sign. It brings the total language count that Red Hat supports to 15.

According to ComputerWeekly, India “sees a great opportunity in India for Linux desktop deployments in education, e-governance, and small and medium-sized enterprise.”

Microsoft, to my knowledge, does not offer enterprise software in any Indian languages. Like I’ve written in the past, should Microsoft fall from its mighty perch, lack of localized software will be one of the reasons why.