Is India the next frontier for innovative tech?
This past week, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Silicon Valley and left his mark all over the digital and physical word. He met the CEOs of top tech companies in the United States, notably Facebook, and garnered relationships with them to invest and look towards India in their technological conquests. In his meetings with Zuckerberg, Musk, Pichai, Cook, Nadella and many others, Modi discussed the possibility of expanding their services and development in India, all pointing towards the rise of India as the leader in all-things-tech.
From 1.2 percent of India’s GDP in 1998 to 7.5 percent in 2012, and a staggering 13-percent increase in the last two years, India is making its case for the leader in global tech.
In fact, India has the third largest group of Internet users in the world at 240 million+. An article by the Economic Times reported that the Indian tech industry provided 410,000+ jobs to the U.S. economy and generated $20 billion in taxes between 2011 and 2015. Today’s biggest tech companies are run by influential Indian CEOs. Companies like Microsoft, Google, Nokia, Softbank, SanDisk, Globalfoundries and Adobe Systems all have Indians as their head honchos. International media has crowned India as the place for expertise in IT-related fields.
As the CEO of FiveOnline and with over nine years of eCommerce experience, Nayan Khandor reckons India’s tech startup ecosystem is expected to grow significantly. “New leaders focused on R&D and cutting red tape, growing entrepreneurialism and a rapidly developing domestic market could see India’s tech industry flourish in the coming decades,” Khandor said during an interview with Global Young Voices. He continued to acknowledge the growing industry by adding that the new government’s drive for growth means this will really encourage more Research and Development around products that can meet the needs of around half a billion Indian middle class consumers.
Azeem Shaikh is the Cofounder of IntelliFox, a well-established technology consultant in the areas of websites and mobile apps. His outlook towards India’s tech industry is also bullish. "With only about 20 percent of Internet penetration in a country with a population of over a billion, there is a huge untapped market in India,” he said. “Naturally, homegrown tech startups are capitalising on this opportunity. The overall economic outlook for India is also comparatively better than its European counterparts.” He reckons that this creates a favorable climate for Venture Capitalists and angel investors, creating a win-win situation for both.
However, he underlines the importance of the government providing impetus to the growth of the sector. “Having said that, the government must ensure that there is minimal red tape and bureaucracy and a simpler tax regime to enable startups to concentrate on running their core business,” Shaikh added.
A strong demand for technical prowess and an even bigger supply of this talent from India in various positions at tech companies and startups (from CEOs to Software Engineers) begs to answer the question, why are Indians so obsessed with tech? Maybe it begins with India's age-old fascination with the obtuse concepts of Gods, its significance in the universe and coordinates in space time; or maybe, it comes from its historical contributions to Math and Science, leading to a natural affinity towards logic studies and math-based sciences.
Another contributing factor is India’s population, which calls for unrelenting competition in young adults’ careers. With IT jobs in high demand with good paying salaries, most Indians prefer tech-based careers.
As a developer, budding entrepreneur and Indian national myself, I’m highly optimistic as I look towards the horizon for tech development in India, as we contribute to the computer-age driven evolution of the human race, one byte at a time.