Silicon Valley on India: Striking The Iron While It's Hot

By Staff Writer

Mar 06, 2016 02:53 AM EST

Due to slow Chinese economic growth, Silicon Valley is eyeing India due to its fast economic growth.  India's digital startup setting is increasing as Internet use gets broader.  More and more Indians are anticipated to access Internet through their mobile phones by June, which should be around 371 million, bigger than the whole U.S. population.

U.S. tech firms and investors turned their attention to India. Venture capitalists have invested hundreds of million dollars funding startups. Silicon Valley titans like Facebook, Google and Apple are now wooing Indians with their own drive.

Last month, February revealed that it would operate a 150-staff office in Hyderabad. iPhone's sales last year were not so good, but when sold in India, sales increase by 76%, making Chief Executive Timothy Cook cite the country an "incredibly exciting" market, The Detroit News reported.

He said that one problem in India is the difficulty in its wireless infrastructure making it hard and at times impossible to view videos using a smartphone which is a major function everywhere. Nevertheless, the nation's population dazed corporate giants.  India's median age is 27, which is almost a full 10 years younger compared to China.  Mobile phones shipped to the state in 2015's last quarter were only 40% according to Counterpoint Research industry analyst, a sign that the market still has the potential for huge growth, based on report.

That "has been a game changer," said Kishor Prabhu, owner of a phone shop in suburban Mumbai. "Indians are a bit cost-conscious. With the introduction of EMI, the middle-class and upper middle-class have shifted toward the iPhone and it is no longer a phone only for the elites."

Google Inc. makes Indian users to access its Maps app offline and considers rolling out free wireless Internet service at hundreds of train stations. It is a golden age for Indians to become digital consumer even if hundreds of millions of rural areas are Internet access-deficient. Transactions can be booked online such as doctor's appointments or buying movie tickets using mobile wallets, where apps are designed by Indian companies.

As the Indian economy grew fast, Silicon Valley takes the chance to invest in the said country. Tech behemoth like, founded Flipkart, an e-commerce site that becomes the current and largest Indian startup to raise funds of $6 billion in venture capital.  Most of the investment came from U.S. investors including New York's Tiger Global Management and Palo Alto, California's Accel Partners.  

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi tries to boost domestic manufacturing and offered incentives for tech firms to build factories in India. He met with Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg citing India as its best opportunity to broaden its base of 1.55 billion users.

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