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FAANG Group of Tech Giants Fighting for Space in “Mobile First” Indian Market

In a nutshell, FAANG group has realised the potential India has and has doubled down on efforts to create 'India first' products for the world

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Clearly, the FAANG family has realised the growing digital hunger among one billion-plus Indians which needs to be satiated. VOA

Not so long ago, India was off the radar for the famous FAANG group of tech giants who have disrupted the way billions of people communicate, connect, shop and entertain globally.

Today, the famous five — Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Google — are fighting for space in the “mobile first” Indian market where digitisation is in full swing to bring the last-mile connectivity and smartphone revolution — riding on ultra-cheap data plans — has reached smaller cities and towns.

You can buy anything with just one click, order food and cab online, pay utility bills, clear off credit card debts, book movies and flight tickets — even live darshan of your family deity — and connect with anyone, anywhere.

Clearly, the FAANG family has realised the growing digital hunger among one billion-plus Indians which needs to be satiated. According to industry experts, India is the fastest-growing among the top 20 smartphone markets globally, with a large untapped user base potential in Tier V and VI cities and beyond.

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The current smartphone user base in India is at over 450 million which is set to grow by leaps and bounds. Pixabay

The rapid growth of the smartphone market can be attributed to several factors like low smartphone penetration, inexpensive mobile data and a growing aspirational middle class. As a result, “the Indian smartphone market continues to look fertile in the coming years, helping brands grow and enhance their portfolios.

“Certainly, for Apple too, it’s a big market to target and grow as the aspirational buyers continue to opt for this luxury brand,” Upasana Joshi, Associate Research Manager, Client Devices, IDC India, told IANS.

Apple is likely to begin manufacturing high-end iPhones in India and open its own branded stores, while seeking “a sector-specific policy to boost smartphone exports”. The current smartphone user base in India is at over 450 million which is set to grow by leaps and bounds.

This gives FAANG companies ample opportunities to unveil lucrative deals and offers to woo more users to their services. Facebook has over 300 million Indian users, WhatsApp has crossed 400 million and Instagram hovers around 70 million users in the country.

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This year, the streaming service is expected to spend $15 billion on content, and India is big on their radar. Pixabay

Seeing a tremendous grow in the digital payments market — estimated to hit $1 trillion by 2023 — WhatsApp is all set to launch its peer-to-peer, UPI-based Pay service for small and medium businesses (SMBs) later this year.

“Given the popularity and reach of WhatsApp in India, it is a given that WhatsApp Pay will make a strong dent on the payments ecosystem, and the incumbents therein,” Prabhu Ram, Head-Industry Intelligence Group, CyberMedia Research, told IANS.

Amazon, which holds 30 per cent of the e-commerce market in India, has become a local kirana shop for people in smaller towns. Its Cloud-computing arm Amazon Web Services (AWS) has been growing steadily in the country. AWS Mumbai Region has over 100,000 active customers in India.

The popular video streaming service Netflix has taken the Indian audience by storm. According to Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, India is a competitive and exciting market with its diverse dynamics and large pool of stories.

In the latest earnings call with analysts, Netflix Chief Content Officer Theodore Sarandos said that “we’ve been seeing nice steady increases in engagement with our Indian viewers that we think we can keep building on. Growth in that country is a marathon. So we’re in it for the long haul”.

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In a nutshell, FAANG group has realised the potential India has and has doubled down on efforts to create ‘India first’ products for the world. Pixabay

A Boston Consulting Group (BCG) study estimates that India’s video-on-demand market will touch $5 billion by 2023 from $500 million last year. For Netflix, the country is a lucrative destination. This year, the streaming service is expected to spend $15 billion on content, and India is big on their radar.

Google, on the other hand, too has ramped up efforts to digitise nearly 60 million SMBs in the country. “SMBs in India want to both learn and grow. More than a million businesses have actually setup their websites through Google Business,” said Shalini Girish, Google Customer Solutions Director.

ALSO READ: Man Quits Well-Paying Job at Google to Launch Eco-Movement, Restores 93 India’s Water Bodies

“There are over 26 million listings that have been setup by businesses. There are about 58.5 million SMBs in India and 45 per cent of them have a presence on Google Maps and Google Search,” Girish told IANS. The company has created several “India first” feature for Maps and Search — like the “Bike Mode and “Loo Review” that shows nearby public toilets on Maps as you travel.

The Internet giant currently provides solutions for both conventional and age-old businesses to new-age startups. At least 50 Indian start-ups had benefitted from the programme till date. In a nutshell, FAANG group has realised the potential India has and has doubled down on efforts to create ‘India first’ products for the world. (IANS)

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Tech Giants to Train Indian Government Officials in AI, Cloud

We have had successful meetings with senior government leaders on this subject as AWS is already leading in skilling the students

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This is the right time to skill them, train them in AI-enabled Cloud computing so that India can move faster on embracing new-age technologies. Pixabay

As the Narendra Modi government goes bullish on emerging technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI), Cloud computing, Blockchain and data analytics, the daunting task ahead is to train millions of government officials so that these disruptive technologies can be optimised for the benefit of over one billion-plus people.

Beyond skilling students, young coders and entrepreneurs in emerging technologies, the onus is now on tech giants to train the men in the system — especially in the information technology (IT) departments — and Amazon Web Services (AWS), which is retail giant Amazon’s Cloud arm, is set to embark on this journey.

There is already a lot of talk happening within the government agencies about the success they have had after moving to Cloud.

“This is the right time to skill them, train them in AI-enabled Cloud computing so that India can move faster on embracing new-age technologies. We have had successful meetings with senior government leaders on this subject as AWS is already leading in skilling the students and upskilling the workforce in the country,” Peter Moore, Regional Managing Director for Amazon Web Services (AWS), Global Public Sector — APAC and Japan, told IANS.

Tech Giants, Indian, Government
Beyond skilling students, young coders and entrepreneurs in emerging technologies, the onus is now on tech giants to train the men in the system — especially in the information technology (IT) departments — and Amazon Web Services (AWS), which is retail giant Amazon’s Cloud arm. Pixabay

According to Teresa Carlson, Vice President, Worldwide Public Sector, Amazon Web Services, training relevant government employees is the key to fulfil the mission of Prime Minister Modi who aims to create a Cloud-first approach towards skilling and digital transformation, thus empowering over a billion people.

“It is high time the Indian government deploys AI and Machine Learning-driven Cloud models to make sense of the humongous sets of data. Training is a crucial part of this exercise,” Carlson told IANS.

As part of its vision to provide a “One Government” experience to citizens, the Modi government is moving forward rapidly to implement the India Enterprise Architecture (IndEA) — a single window digitisation solution for cashless, paperless and faceless services. This will require a quicker and seamless implementation of AI-driven Cloud across the spectrum.

Microsoft India is also not behind on its vision to train Indian government officials in emerging technologies.

Also Read- Additional Steps to Provide Further Impetus to Indian Economy

The company last month announced the “Digital Governance Tech Tour” programme to skill government IT officials in technologies like AI and intelligent Cloud computing.

Microsoft will organise a series of physical and virtual workshops to train 5,000 government IT personnel over a period of 12 months.

“The first-of-its-kind ‘Digital Governance Tech Tour’ for government officials reiterates our commitment of being a trusted partner to the government by enabling and empowering officials to do more with technology in service of the citizens,” said Anant Maheshwari, President, Microsoft India.

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There is already a lot of talk happening within the government agencies about the success they have had after moving to Cloud. Pixabay

According to NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant, as India moves beyond pilots and understands how to scale AI implementation and Cloud adoption across states and sectors, “it is vital to equip the ecosystem with the right know-how and skills”.

Also Read- Swachh Bharat Mission of Modi Government is an “Example-Setting Programme for World”

As India advances towards fulfilling its vision of becoming a $5 trillion economy, applying AI and data analytics using secure and compliant Cloud-based tools can provide actionable, predictive and effective citizen-focused services. (IANS)