Google has announced an investment of 75,000 crore rupees into India over the next five to seven years through its India digitization fund. Google chief Sundar Pichai announced that the tech giant will invest about 10 billion dollars into India through this fund and this would be done through a mix of equity investments with partnerships and operational infrastructure and ecosystem investments. Sundar Pichai also listed out the areas they will majorly focus on through this fund by providing affordable access and information for every Indian in their local language, technology and artificial intelligence and center’s like education, healthcare and agriculture will be new products and services relevant to India’s needs and empowering business as they continue to embark in this entire process of digital transformation. The information technology minister has welcomed this decision of Google and said this will be the start of the blend between global and Indian foundations. Yesterday morning there had been an interaction between Sundar Pichai and PM Narendra Modi through call and following that Prime Minister tweeted “This morning, had an extremely fruitful interaction with Sundar Pichai. We spoke on a wide range of subjects, particularly leveraging the power of technology to transform the lives of India’s farmers, youngsters, and entrepreneurs“
It is important to note that this is a big announcement but the tech giant has invested in many Indian businesses and startups through Google as well as through their growth equity investment fund called capital G. Pichai also highlighted during for this Google for India summit which was in its sixth edition that as of today 26 million SMBs are discoverable in search and maps with driving instruction of more than 150 million users every month. He spoke about the company’s internet Sathi program and also in terms of payments the Gpay business app which is today used by 3 million merchants in India. So, the overall theme was common – Google wants to push and invest in small and medium businesses in India.
Google’s four major focus areas in the upcoming years:
- Enabling affordable information for every Indian in their language
- Building new products and services deeply relevant to India’s unique needs
- Empowering businesses as they continue their digital transformation
- using technology And Artificial Intelligence for social Google in health, education, and agriculture.
This investment is going to be a very big push for India and its local businesses but there is also a question of what it will do with data and whether Google will share the data is collected with the Indian government. These questions will be best answered by the government and regulator’s information-sharing policies but if we have to look into this deal, the experts suggest that there can be two points of view. One thing is the timing. The deal is being initiated at this particular time when the Indian government is no longer encouraging Chinese investment all the American technology giants do not want to miss out on this opportunity in the growing Indian market because this is a huge internet base. The second point will be that Google also doesn’t want to miss out. Looking at how its rival Facebook has invested a big amount in reliance Jio, and Amazon just committed a million-dollar investment in India couple of months ago, so definitely Google doesn’t want to be left behind, and that’s the reason why they are looking for making this big-ticket investment in India, especially in the startup and businesses space over the next 5 to 7 years.
In India, Google is an extremely important market, and as said earlier nobody wants to miss out on the digital India story, and that the key reason why such a big amount has been committed. If we look at Google’s investment in India, they do have invested in startups like delivery app dunzo, there is still a lot more potential over there and that’s what Google is looking for to expand their reach. One thing that was essential in what Sundar Pichai said was that Google is looking to give a push to local business (i.e.) medium and smaller businesses. That seems to be the major thrust. So, a) This deal is an opportunistic announced that came at a time when China is not being entertained by India and b) This deal easily puts Google in competition with the other rivals in India that are being attracted to its digital openness.
10 million dollars are coming from Google across multiple sectors that are not just about being a part of the ecosystem but they are going to generate an ecosystem that’s going to involve a lot of people who are going to be developing AI apps, that are going to be using Indian data to develop products because Google itself is not going to do it directly. An important to note here is that if India has to grow then it will grow with the small and medium businesses together. We have seen in COVID, that digital space is what has kept a lot of them alive and as Google comes in and when it empowers this huge segment that’s where the real job will get credited. There is the enablement of economic infrastructure that will generate millions and millions of dollars of demand. Experts very strongly recommend the data to stay in India. But seeing this 10 million dollar investment, Google seems to be making this commitment, because fundamentally they can’t just pay 10 million dollars for sucking out data. Hence there is a hope to see how the data is used and there is a need for data to stay here.
The difference with Google coming in has shown that Atmanirbhar Bharat means that we are negotiating from the positioning of strength other than closing ourselves from progress. It’s not about isolationism but about making sure India becoming a hub for the market, like becoming the manufacturing hub to the world. Everybody coming to India and investing here will accelerate the production of goods and products here. But it’s also about invention. There might be many questions of whether it’s going to push the startup apps, is Google going to identify per talent across. They want to focus on language henceforth we can see that Google wants to diversify for they know the heart of India; the rural areas are going to be a bigger market.
The more Google spread into languages other than Hindi and English, that’s better for them for that means better access. This news of Google investment in India will be a piece of music to eyes for many startups in India. Because as suddenly they are looking at an environment where they are not sure of investors of Chinese investment anymore due to the uncertainties in terms of clearance and delay this investments is an amazing opportunity and the expectations will be that American tech giants like Google will look at more investment in startups. Whatever we do today especially in large platforms and on our phones; if we have chrome, if we have Google, as for a lot of us Google is our go-to engine. We just like to Google it, as it’s our search engine. Whatever we are doing and our lifestyle, and everything – Google knows. Is it willing to share that information with the government when required? That perhaps remains the most important question of the 10 billion dollars investment.