Big Tech’s Battle for India

The worlds second-largest market and fifth-largest economy has become the battleground for what might be the fiercest battle for market share since the dawn of the tech boom. In the past year, Google has pledged to invest over $10 billion within the next 5 years, Facebook invested $5.7 billion on India’s Jio in addition to having over 340 million Indian users on WhatsApp, one of Facebook's core products, and Amazon has invested over $6.5 billion.

Google for India (Credits: PC Mag)

India is being perceived as the last uncharted large open market, with China’s preference to its own domestic tech giants, India has been left as a beacon of opportunity. With one of the youngest and largest populations and rapid growth trajectories, Google, Facebook, Amazon, and even Walmart’s Flipcart are now doubling down on the country’s future.

Each giant has taken a different approach to betting on India’s future in laying the strategic foundation to capture dividend returning market share as the country’s economy continues to develop and mature.

Google’s approach to India has been very strategic with a campaign designed to test the ground and help digitize India more intuitively for around its own identity rather than build off of its existing outward experience of western centric free internet.

Google is putting its focus towards intuitive language connectivity across India, developing its products to uniquely fit the needs of the population, and empowering people & businesses by using technology to better transform India.

Facebook and Amazon are a bit of a different story, while they each have closed in on isolated market segments, they are both coming in to conquer. Facebooks $5.7 billion bet on Jio has bought the company a massive stake in one India’s leading telecom providers, helping Facebook to gain a major inroad to expand its userbase to hundreds of millions more customers.

Amazon is having trouble in paradise, the take no prisoners aggressive competitor crushing tactics that may have worked in the west are not taking route in India. While Amazon’s growth in India has been exponential, it is facing more policy obstacles than ever before. The company’s image is also becoming the subject of a growing public outcry.

Legacy laws in India have hampered Amazon, which has yet to turn a profit in the country, and other e-commerce firms to not hold inventory or sell items directly to consumers. To bypass this, firms have operated through a maze of joint ventures with local companies that operate as inventory-holding firms a practice that was just recently outlawed. This action caused Amazon and Walmart a massive headache. Now the country is doubling down on its small business protection laws as massive federations of small businesses continue to lobby the government to put an end to Amazon’s perceived ant completive practices.

What does remain almost assured that India will likely see the most rapid development of the next decade. As these companies battle to be in on the ground floor we may see the increased investment foster massive impact for India.