Google to fund digitization in India

And it’s Google, the world’s largest search engine, once again in the news. Sundar Pichai, the CEO of Google, recently announced the company’s plan to invest funds to the tune of $ 10 billion or INR 75,000 crores approximately in India to promote digitization of the Indian economy. This investment will be used by the company to buy stakes not only in major Indian companies but also in providers of digital services.

In the recently held event ‘Google For India’, the technology giant announced the setting up of a India Digitization Fund, where the company will be investing heavily over a period of five to seven years to encourage and hasten the pace of adopting digital services in the Indian market. India has been an important overseas market for Google for its various products which includes YouTube, and Search as well as Android, which have become extremely popular with the entire online population. In fact, the country with its population of 1.3 billion people offers an market for growth that is yet to be accessed by American giants.

One can say, as many as over 500 million Indians are found to be online today and as many as 450 million smart phones are being used within the country This clearly justifies the drawing up of such a large scale investment plan to promote digitization within the country.

It is said that the company will carry out these investments through a judicious mix of infrastructure & ecosystem investments, and equity investments as well as through operational investments and partnerships. The investments that will be made will basically focus on four key areas. One, it will build a whole new range of products and services that match the exclusive requirements of the country’s population. Second, enabling Indians easy access to information that too at affordable rates in their own language like Punjabi, Tamil and other vernacular languages. Thirdly, using Artificial Intelligence capabilities for development in the fields of agriculture, education and health care, and Fourth, helping businesses in their journey towards digital transformation.

Google’s investment is clearly an indication of its deep intention to expand the operations in India and then establish a strong foothold on the digital ecosystem of India. The funds will be used for investment in both small and large companies, in developing new technologies like AI as well as invest in building relevant infrastructure such as data centers amongst others.

The announcement by Google comes at a key point when India is turning its back to Chinese companies and has banned the usage of 59 apps created and developed by Chinese organization. Experts feel that this move will allow American firms to establish themselves in India as competition will be less at this point of time.

The CEO of Google met the Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi and discussed the plans for taking advantage of technology so as transform the lives of farmers, entrepreneurs as well as the younger generation. This investment will redirect focus on digital inclusion and will go a long way in bridging the digital divide. When asked about this step, Mr. Pichai mentioned that there was more work left to be done so as to make the internet useful and affordable for all Indians, while at the same time motivate and support budding and young entrepreneurs. In fact, it is believed that this step will encourage more and more start-ups to come up. For the time being, we all need to just wait and see how far Google succeeds in its mission and thus gives rise to a India, that is new and digitally advanced.

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