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TECH TALK: India Internet and Mobile: What Others Say

February 15th, 2006 · No Comments

In recent months, there has been a lot of commentary from venture capitalists and others on the Indian market. To provide an alternate set of views to my own, I have aggregated these together here.

ContentSutra reported on Ram Shriram (Sherpalo) and John Doerr (Kleiner Perkins) said recently at a TiE event in Delhi:

According to Shriram, India will see a big company emerging in the mobile space. “India is adding 4.5 million phone connections a month. Mobile is India’s PC. So I see the next big company emerging from this area.” But he didn’t specify which area of mobile space they could come from. There are operators, bandwidth providers, and then content companies (how big can they be?). The bottomline is mobile is where the next big thing will happen.

Shriram also mentioned that there could be some interesting ideas in e-commerce or online shopping. All this is part of the consumer web (includes mobile) which he has been talking about as a growth area for India.

John Doerr said that Internet is “underhyped”. According to Doerr, internet will be the largest and the biggest creator of wealth on planet. Doerr also emphasized on mobile as the next big thing in India. He is particularly impressed with the concept of bollywood/entertainment on cell phones.

Pramod Haque in an interview with Business Line:

As mobile users in India are increasing, wireless data services and products continue to be extremely interesting investment opportunities for our firm. India also has low credit card penetration, and we believe there are opportunities for companies to create alternate online payment methods.

There are also tremendous opportunities in the media/broadcasting sector. Broadcasting is changing. In the past it was done through satellite and cable. In the future it will be done over the Internet. This will be taken one step further than what IPTV providers are talking about when they say they want to control the content (as satellite and cable providers have).

The Internet will become the transport mechanism for delivering television, movies and news. You will see a lot of new channels that will start to use the Internet as the platform for communication like publishers did when they first used the Internet to deliver content.

Imagine a world where we will be able to watch any local channel from India, China, the UK or the US, using the Internet.

New technology also will change the way content such as news, reviews of information, breaking stories, research reports, opinions, is transformed, aggregated and distributed over the Internet. In the past, finding important news or information was limited to some Web sites. The landscape has changed and we are seeing more local, user-contributed, content. Building on the blog phenomenon, there will be more uses and models for this technology.

Rafat Ali (of PaidContent.org):

Technology is such a leveler [in India], and is bringing so many economic changes that it is a shame that we in U.S. can only boast about how iPod changed our lives.

Ask the farmers of India who are using simple voice technology (well, cellphones) to cut out the middleman (and yes, it is always a man here) out of the agricultural selling and procurement process. People are getting informed, and for once, can take informed decisions about their livelihood. This is the real revolution here, not just the metro-big-cities based outsourcing that we all hear and read about in the media in U.S. and Europe.

The time to invest in India, if you are interested, is now. Both on general technology level, and more specifically in mobile and online media (in that order) here. What we consider content (entertainment and news oriented) in U.S. is not necessarily what will work here. Informational services which help people make decisions and cut out the middleman — that is where the huge opportunity lies. Anyway, I can go on and on, but make a trip here if you want to get the real feel of the changes here.

Tomorrow: What Others Say (continued)


TECH TALK India Internet and Mobile+T

Tags: Tech Talk

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