Exclusive: America Online, better known as AOL Inc, is setting up shop in India. The company has hired a CEO and the director of technology and content already, our sources confirmed. Other key staff is being recruited, and the company is likely to kick off anytime soon. (Nikhil Pahwa adds that the CEO is Maneesh Dhir and VP is P G Ponnapa). AOL already has a back-end office in Bangalore, but this launch is about selling its products in Indian market. AOL is owned by Time Warner and is based in Dulles, Virginia, US. The India entry is part of its launch in 35 countries, sources say. It is expected to launch all the products of AOL in India.
AOL has the largest Internet access subscription service in the United States. (We are not sure if it will get into internet access business in India; a good idea will be to buy out Sify’s net access business, if that is the case). AOL has other web brands like the AOL.com website, AOL Pictures, AIM, MapQuest and Netscape. It also offers a range of digital services in the areas of education, safety and security, communications and music. Besides the US, the company also has operations in Europe and Canada.
Now the Indian internet space will just get hotter. South African new media giant Naspers-MIH has also announced their India entry. It has hired Ashish Kashypa from Google as its CEO.
Updated: Rafat: Still working my AOL sources here in U.S., but it seems like the new site/service is slated to launch this Fall…the company has shortlisted the services to be luanched in India, and Ponnapa is heading the consumer venture…Dhir has been the head of AOL India for while, overlooking the backend/technical operations.