IBEF: July 14, 2020
Google plans to invest US$ 10 billion over the next five to seven years to help accelerate the adoption of digital technologies in India.
Mr Sundar Pichai, who was born in the country and is currently chief executive officer of parent Alphabet Inc., made the announcement at the annual Google for India event via video conference. The outbreak of the coronavirus has pointed out the importance of technology for conducting business and for connecting with friends and family.
He added, “This is a reflection of our confidence in the future of India and its digital economy".
The US$ 10 billion funds are expected to be invested in partnerships, operations, infrastructure, the digital ecosystem, and equity investments. Google will focus on several key areas:
Google was founded in 1998 in Silicon Valley and entered India six years later with offices in Bangalore and Hyderabad. During its initial years, the focus was on search services to provide help to people in finding relevant information on everything from Bollywood news to cricket scores, Mr Pichai said.
Since then, the India business has grown into one of the company’s most important one. There are more than 500 million internet users in India, second only to China, with growth that has drawn all the American technology giants.
There has been slow down for the U.S. search giant in other markets in recent months. In April 2020, Mr Pichai told employees in an email that Alphabet would slow hiring for the remainder of the year as it battled an advertising slowdown from the coronavirus.
“The entire global economy is hurting, and Google and Alphabet are not immune to the effects of this global pandemic," he wrote.
Earlier this month, Google stopped its plans to offer a new cloud service in China and other politically sensitive countries due in part due to concerns over geopolitical tensions and the pandemic, as per reports.
Whereas India has witnessed a surge of foreign interest in its digital economy. In the last few months, investors including Facebook Inc., Qualcomm Inc. and Intel Corp. have put around US$ 16 billion in the digital services unit of India’s largest conglomerate, the retail-to-telecom giant Reliance Industries Ltd.
Google, Facebook, Amazon.com Inc., and others are investing billions into the market to gain users and set the foundation for future revenue growth. India is considered as a fertile ground for the companies to become the gateway for first-time internet users going online to buy products, stream content, find information and make payments.
Google has successfully launched several products in India, including a Google internet Saathi service to bring women in rural areas online and its popular Google Pay service.
“This mission is deeply personal to me," Mr Pichai said. “When I was young, every new piece of technology brought new opportunities to learn and grow. But I always had to wait for it to arrive from someplace else. Today, people in India no longer have to wait for technology."
Disclaimer: This information has been collected through secondary research and IBEF is not responsible for any errors in the same.