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Building India: Indigenous Tech companies and their role in India’s tech revolution

 Smart Bharat’ – a dream of marking the presence of technology in every nook and corner of the country.

It is no surprise that the future will rest on the pillars of technology, be it the industries, jobs, automobiles, or something as small as wrist watches. However, it is imperative that this future is shared fairly, if not equally, between the metropolitans and hinterlands of the country.

The vision of Smart Bharat, however, does not entirely rest on a singular scheme or event. Gradual changes in market dynamics, initiatives and efforts by pioneers and indigenous product and service offerings changed the Indian tech arena – making way for tech adoption all over the country.

To understand the tech growth in India, let’s take a look at the change-makers in the country.

The ‘SMART’ foundation

With smartphone use on the rise, leading market players focused on the urban regions. Series of phones with features better than the previous model in succession helped them understand the market and modify their offerings accordingly. It wasn’t long until the monopoly of Samsung, Nokia, and Motorola dominated the market share.

However, advent of Rahul Sharma-Rajesh Aggarwal’s Micromax in 2005 disrupted the mobile market with its strategy of introducing low-cost, necessary feature smartphones – thus bringing the lion’s share of market drive from the rural and urban regions. Post a foray into India’s hinterlands, Micromax became the first company in the world to offer a battery backup of one month in affordable smartphones, consistent with India’s requirement – making it a market leader in the country.

This enabled them to tap into a market that consisted of people from tier-2, tier-3 cities. Making technology and internet accessible for the hinterlands of the country, it was touted as the rural man’s smartphone maker. As a result, IDC Asia/Pacific Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker report 2013 revealed that Micromax had 22% market share – just 3% behind the market leader Samsung.

This also set the stage for other local mobile manufacturers such as Pradeep Jain’s Karbonn and Hari Om Rai’s Lava to collectively create a dedicated market for the rural areas while exposing these people to a new technological world – and further opening the market to Chinese and Korean players.

Telecom revolution

Leading telecom companies of today are capitalizing on the ‘smart’ foundations laid in the 2000s. Consider the Jio Revolution. Reliance Jio held 42.02 percent share of the internet subscriber base with 215.25 million consumers as of June 2018. The company has been instrumental in transforming the mindset about internet accessibility from luxury to common service.

The market challenge stands to reason, since earlier, large conglomerates dictated the data prices that weren’t too feasible for the Indian populace.

A lower data tariff, thus, got people to use internet, which otherwise was a considerable expense. Add to that the smartphone revolution – and India opened up to the possibility of ‘Internet to All’.

4G data plans providing high data speed at low prices combined with low-cost smartphones from the indigenous companies have had a revolutionary impact on the previously technology-deprived regions. This can be seen in rickshwalas listening to songs on Jio Music, streaming movies on internet, and voice calling via WhatsApp.

Television for everyone

While smartphone and internet changed communication and worldview of people, television was second to none in contributing to the awareness and entertainment quotient. Companies such as Videocon introduced new plans and offers featuring free dish and no installation charges with its D2H in order to target rural areas. Once again, the initiative was caught on by players who brought competitive pricing and more reach.

As a result, national awareness, global know-hows, movies, and music could now reach the people of such areas – that too in Hindi.

Combined efforts of these indigenous players in their respective domains is steadily bridging the gap between technology and accessibility. Provided that such efforts continue at their current pace, Smart Bharat could be achieved sooner than anticipated.