India is becoming a land of digital opportunities for home-grown tech companies, according to GlobalData. The research firm notes that these local players are growing stronger and can now compete against foreign tech giants, which previously reaped the benefits in ecommerce, digital payments, social media and video streaming. This clash is also leading global players to offer a more India-specific service.
GlobalData’s latest thematic report, ‘Thematic Research: India Tech’, identifies the leading foreign and Indian players at the key segments of the Indian tech and media sector. US giants Alphabet, Amazon and Walmart currently dominate the e-commerce and mobile payment market in India. However, they face regulatory and social challenges. Amazon has already faced allegation of killing smart businesses, and the 2019 ecommerce regulations prevent both Amazon and Walmart from managing their inventory and stocks in the country.
Swati Verma, Associate Project Manager for Thematic Research at GlobalData, comments: “JioMart has already disrupted the Indian ecommerce market by bringing the kirana stores (small neighborhood brick-and-mortar shops) online, and Indian unicorns (privately held start-ups valued at over USD 1bn) have also eaten up global players’ share in areas such as online food delivery and online hotel booking. Local Indian tech companies such as these are being promoted by the government, which are also regulating competition by foreign players.”
The government is also taking steps to regulate the mobile payments industry. According to new laws, no single mobile payments player can account for more than 30% of the total number of transactions. This gives some respite to local mobile payments players such as Paytm, Axis Bank (Freecharge) and MobiKwik competing against Alphabet’s Google Pay, Walmart’s PhonePe, and Amazon Pay.
Verma continues: “The pandemic has boosted demand across India’s internet and media sector. Global players such as Facebook and Twitter dominate the country’s social media market, and, while no domestic players are competing strongly against the tech giants, a few Indian start-ups have benefited from clashes between global social media apps and the Indian Government.”
Amid the pandemic, Indians were hooked to video streaming platforms and preferred local content. Indian video streaming players such as Star India, Zee Entertainment and Sony Pictures Networks India (SPN) had the advantage of Indian-made content in Hindi and other regional languages. These stood strong against Netflix and Amazon, forcing these players to place greater focus on regional-language content.
Verma concludes: “Foreign companies will continue to face friction in India as the government is increasingly interfering in competition and introducing protectionist legislation.”