Next East India company had already arrived

A close friend of mine shared  this link “Why Silicon Valley is betting big on India“.  Having also heard recent comparison of Facebook with East India company to exploit India in the past, my thoughts went deep and wide.

SaaS from Silicon Valley takes it as winners take it all. Are we helping Silicon Valley firms to be winners and become next East India Company

I am sure the folks in silicon valley see opportunities to see their products and offering in India. Any  business men on discovering a new market is  interested to capture the market as part of their business strategy. While Silicon Valley firms would bet on India as a good strategy,  my thoughts went to looking deeply how good is the arrival of Silicon Valley companies helps India’s growth and empower Indians to grow.  Looking at macro level, one sees that Indian Prime Minister visited office of Silicon Valley companies and has offered invitation with a red carpet welcome to arrive in India.

In any business, the business needs to create moat beyond startup stage. A moat can come from scaled operation to server a large number of customers or innovation in specific area or combination of both. From a market perspective, U.S economy has its own firms offering services and products for U.S customers. Some of these products and services can apply to India.
Let me acknowledge first that for some one with ample money and effort, a lot of work and effort  is needed to find new product market fit for existing product in new market and remains true for the silicon valley firms coming to India , They need to modify existing product to satisfy needs & desires of customer and resolve roadblocks specific to India.
Having a product ready at hand, I see that Silicon valley firms have following benefits by entering Indian market to deepen and broaden moat for their products.
  • Indian population is arriving in the digital age and this is  really large number compared to other markets. Capturing a small percentage of Indian market helps them to create best moat for their firms.
  • Encourage Indian startups to develop services above Silicon Valley platforms or products, the moat gets deepened and broadened for Silicon Valley core business. Without being in open, there is learning of what works and what does not.
  • Leverage cost advantage to experiment new innovation  based on their existing infrastructure and learn what works in Indian market. This can be applied to global product road-map as lot of them may apply to other third world countries.

Silicon valley firms are doing the right things to help their interests. Is that same as the right thing for India and Indians? Here are my observations. I would like to hear what you think. 

India is largest market for social  networks. Look at media firm like  yourstory.com. They leverage Facebook to capture the user comments and interaction and youtube.com for hosting videos. Large professionals including me make use of LinkedIn, which counts Indians to be large percentage of their active users. Even Prime Minister of India has great followers in Facebook and Twitter and not sure how using  “Make in Foreign” product sync with his “Make in India” campaign. Facebook has learnt about India and tried to launch Free-basics program to create even a larger moat in Indian market and Indians woke up. Where is Indian player to compete with Facebook?

<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-lang=”en”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>The longer I go without Twitter, the happier I am. But the only place I have to say that is Twitter. So please, someone, replace Twitter.</p>&mdash; Paul Graham (@paulg) <a href=”https://twitter.com/paulg/status/703705844614094848″>February 27, 2016</a></blockquote>
//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

India has large number of developers who develop cloud applications and SaaS platforms. All these are build on  cloud infrastructure offerings of Amazon or Microsoft. We enable both Amazon and Microsoft to create their moat for cloud infrastructure.  Where is Indian Full stack cloud player to compete  with Amazon and Microsoft?

India has developers who develop mobile applications and Indian mobile users will shortly become large percentage of mobile users of the world. We use hardware, software arriving from Silicon Valley. We enables Google and Apple to develop moats for mobile. Where is Indian Full stack software mobile player to compete  with Apple and  Google? Mobile companies like Micro-max have created android device variant and helps Google to make their moat deepened and broadened.

Every Indian including me, makes use of Google search engine. Google has expanded itself to include Indian languages. I know all language space providers leverage Google for every thing.  By making more Indians make use of Android phones, Google has already create a large moat. By making all Indian content available as part of iTunes store, Apple is working to create its moat. Who competes with Google and Apple for Indian space?

In retail space, it is refreshing that Flip-kart and snap-deal are given some challenge for amazon. I  consider that Amazon.in wins over Indian players from customer satisfaction and their gaps with Indian players are less at this moment. From Amazon.in perspective, they have success to start creating a better moat in India compared to their experience of creating moat in China (vs alibaba.com). I subscribe to amazon kindle unlimited and also responsible to strengthen their moat.

In payment space, I Silicon Valley companies have not been able to created moat in India and the Indian regulation has prevented the same to an extent. Happy to see that moat created by consortium of Indian players (paytm, mobikwik, ezetap etxc) working together to create RuPay and NPCI based infrastructure along with with Indian government may have potential muscle to destroy moat created by Visa and MasterCard.

May be acceptance of others comes from Indian culture. We have welcome every one to our country either in friendly way or through a war and we have helped them to establish and grow. In the recent past, we helped British to become powerful starting with East India company. May now it is our turn to help  Silicon Valley to flourish and become powerful. May be in future, we would help China firms to flourish.
We continue not to innovate in basic areas. We fight with initiatives like Free Basics over policy and not over innovation. Wish  the divide and conquer policy is not once used to exploit Indians.