AOL is expanding to India with a new portal (in the English language) since "India is one of the world's fastest-growing online markets, and our India portal will help us compete for users and advertisers in this important region," said Ron Grant, AOL's president and chief operating officer. Although only a small fraction of India's population can speak it, English has become a common language in business and government circles in a country with a slew of spoken tongues. The AOL site will offer free e-mail accounts, search services powered by minority owner Google Incorporated and news and entertainment channels targeting Bollywood, cricket and other areas of interest to India's population. Google owns 5% of AOL, with the rest belonging to Time Warner Incorporated.
Although AOL has been dropping its Internet access businesses around the world, it has been making a bigger push at delivering content through free Web sites in hopes of boosting advertising opportunities. India has about 8.5 million Internet users, out of 1.1 billion people, according to government figures.