Tech Leaders urge Modi to be tougher on Chinese rivals


The Indian government banned 59 Chinese apps in the country including Tik Tok owned by ByteDance aimed at improving local control and data security. Technology industry leaders like Yashish Dahiya, Policybazaar co-founder, and Bipin Preet Singh, MobiKwik, urged PM Narendra Modi in separate interviews to go even further to protect the interests of Indian firms against overseas competitors or risk ceding the world’s fastest-growing internet arena.

Yashish Dahiya says India must prudently decrease market entry before its neighboring countries becomes even more powerful.

On Tuesday, a representative with China’s Indian embassy said Beijing will take required actions to safeguard the Chinese companies from prohibition that threatens their legal rights, and urged the Indian government to reverse “wrongdoings.”

MobiKwik’s Bipin Preet Singh advocated the government should point out important sectors and encourage local startups. Before TikTok overtook YouTube to become India’s most popular social video platform, the mastery of Whatsapp and Inc. and Walmart Inc. in e-commerce had already rankled domestic companies.

The country’s action of prohibiting Chinese apps frustrated the global ambitions of China’s technology leaders just as the spotlight is turning on the world’s biggest untapped digital frontier. India’s emerging digital economy is currently facing tough competition in everything from online retail and content streaming to messaging and digital payments.

As per Mumbai-based think-tank Gateway House, even though India has attracted over $20 billion in past months from American leaders like Google and Facebook, China has over the years played a significant role in India’s technology industry. Researchers say that out of 30 unicorns, 18 are Chinese-funded. Apart from TikTok, smartphone company giants like Xiaomi Corp. and Oppo have captured three-quarters of the market.

According to the Economic Times, organizations like GGV Capital and Qiming Venture Partners nearly doubled Chinese investments in Indian startups to $3.9 billion in 2019.

Singh said India requires local winners and also there is a need to protect its data and security. Competitions are needed but India can’t have a situation where there’s no domestic player in any segment from search to messaging, social media, eCommerce, and digital payments.

The Indian government has already set things in motion. It drafted an e-commerce policy that supports domestic startups and oversight on how foreign companies handle data. The administrative body suggested a data regulator for supervising the monetization and privacy of user information to ensure “maximum social and economic benefits” for Indians. The government could limit the influence of foreign capital as it has done in sectors like banking, he added.


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