would have to invest heavily in sound Internet banking e-commerce technology.During 1995-99, ICICI invested Rs 50 million in online banking technology solutions.In 1997, ICICI bought the 'BankAway' software from Infosys. BankAway was an e-commerce solution that provided the bank a platform to offer an integrated financialservices portal to the customers.It offered access to account information, bill payment, cash management, tradefinance and online shopping. Infinity' was initially targeted at the non-resident Indians(NRIs) to enable them to manage their bank accounts in India through the Internet.According to the bank's sources, Infinity helped to increase the business generatedfrom NRI customers from Rs 300 million in 1997 to Rs 1.4 billion in 1998.The service was also aimed at individuals in the age group of 30 to 50 years workingin the corporate sector and proficient in using technology. However, over the next fewyears, the bank enhanced its services to attract other customers as well. As a result, byearly 2000, ICICI had over 110,000 Internet banking customers. In the first half of 2000, ICICI's Internet banking customer base touched 275,000.On account of the growing competition in the Internet banking sector, ICICIfocused on enhancing and extending its business-to-business (B2B) and B2C servicesthrough tie-ups and acquisitions. The bank entered into a 50-50 joint venture withSatyam Infoway in December 1999 to offer retail banking products and services onthe Internet.
In 2001, a Reserve Bank of India survey revealed that of 46 major banksoperating in India, around 50% were either offering Internet banking services atvarious levels or planned to in the near future. According to a research report, while in2001, India's Internet user base was an estimated 9 lakh; it was expected to reach 90lakh by 2003. Also, while only 1% of these Internet users utilized the Internet bankingservices in 1998, the Internet banking user base increased to 16.7% by mid- 2000.Many of the major banks like ICICI, HDFC, IndusInd, IDBI, Citibank, Global TrustBank (GTB), Bank of Punjab and UTI were offering Internet banking services. Basedon the above statistics and the analysts' comments that India had a high growth potential for Internet banking, the players focused on increasing and improving their Internet banking services.As a part of this, the banks began to collaborate with various utility companies