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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 Face US House Hearings on Anti-trust, Cryptocurrency

Google has abused its market dominance by imposing a number of restrictive clauses in contracts with third-party websites which prevented Google’s rivals from placing their search adverts on these websites, according to the European Commission

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The Amazon warehouse in San Fernando de Henares is seen during a 3-day walkout to demand better wages and working conditions, on the outskirts of Madrid, Spain. VOA

Apple, Google, Amazon and Facebook are set to face two US House hearings on anti-trust issues and Facebook’s planned cryptocurrency Libra.

On Tuesday, the House Committee on Judiciary will discuss anti-trust issues while the Senate Banking Committee will discuss Facebook’s digital currency ‘Libra’ that is slated to arrive in 2020, CNET reported on Sunday.

Amazon is often criticized for undercutting competition on price.

“Facebook and Google have struggled with questions around privacy, free speech and election interference. Amazon and Apple meanwhile have grown so large and powerful, some lawmakers say they’ve become monopolies that need to be split up,” said the report.

Facebook has reached a whopping $5 billion settlement with the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in the Cambridge Analytica privacy violations.

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FILE – Attendees walk past a Facebook logo during Facebook Inc’s F8 developers conference in San Jose, California, United States. VOA

The FTC opened a probe last year into the matter after the social networking giant admitted Cambridge Analytica acquired detailed personal information of more than 87 million Facebook users via an academic researcher.

The report of the $5 billion settlement, the largest ever by the FTC against a tech company over privacy issues after a $22.5 million settlement with Google in 2012.

The Facebook case is being looked at as a measure of President Donald Trump’s administration’s willingness to regulate US tech companies.

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The European Union’s anti-trust regulators in March fined Google 1.49 billion euros ($1.7 billion) for abusing its dominance in the online search market by blocking rivals.

Google has abused its market dominance by imposing a number of restrictive clauses in contracts with third-party websites which prevented Google’s rivals from placing their search adverts on these websites, according to the European Commission. (IANS)