Shown above: (From Left) Sachin Bansal, Naveen Tewari and Vikram Chandra
Global Mobile Internet Conference, Bangalore has started in India. Mobile is here, and mobile is here to stay. The thought leaders are bullish about Mobile Internet revolutionising India. The conference started with a panel discussion on How Mobile Has Made India Global with industry experts Sachin Bansal, CEO, Flipkart, Naveen Tewari, CEO, InMobi and Vikram Chandra, Group CEO & Executive Director, NDTV. Below are the excerpts.
How Mobile Has Made India Global with Industry Experts
Vikram Chandra- Unlike Korea and US the extent of broadband penetration is not high in India. Most of the people experience Internet on mobile first, what is causing this growth?
Sachin Bansal- Mobile computing scenario is changing very fast. The cost of Internet is coming down in India, and it is going to be more cheaper. These days techology doesn’t have a barrier. Earlier it used to take years to cross borders, that has changed now. Additionally, there are a lot of funds available for startups in the mobile internet space.The cost of development of a mobile app business has come down. That’s also adding to the growth of Mobile Internet’
Naveen Tewari – In China, there has been a new wave over last 3 years, where developers have taken capital and though about what the world is looking at. The same is going to happen in India. Look at the Mars mission, the scale we have achieved at such effective cost is noteworthy. The same is going to happen for mobile apps now.
Vikram Chandra – Do you see a lot of products and platforms coming in India which can be taken global?
Naveen Tewari – 10 years ago no product would come out of India, because we were not users of those products. That has changed big time. The ability for us to look at global scale is definitely there.
Vikram Chandra – The Prime Minister is asking Indians to buy mobiles made in India. But where is the technology for it?
Naveen Tewari – It is for us to parallely solve this problem by ourselves or import it. The money we will spend in importing it, we can give that to developers in the country to make that technology in house.
Vikram Chandra – If you are the Prime Minister of India, what would you say to the Indians living in US?
Sachin Bansal – If I am the PM, I would say that this is the right time to come to India. The real opportunity is here, create your Silicon Valley here.
Naveen Tewari – Yes, India is saying the era now and this is going to go on for the next 5-10 years.
Sachin Bansal – The good part is that the picture in India is getting better day by day. Today is better than yesterday, the pace of improvement is accelerating.
Vikram Chandra – So the message is ‘Make in India, come back to India’
Shown above: Naveen Tewari
Following the discussion, Naveen Tewari takes the stage, to talk about the Next Wave of Mobile. He talked about how mobile has drastically changed different sectors in the country.
Look at the ticket booking process, which has changed in past 2-3 years. Online mobile payments have changed, they are seemless now. The information is on the fingertips, educational apps are getting really high quality of content.
Mobile is changing healthcare across the globe. High quality doctors can’t be at multiple places, but mobile is changing that. It is making them accessible remotely.
Another sector that is changing is banking. Banks will go away in the next 5 years if they don’t change themselves with technology.
Shown above: Alex Qian Haitao. Managing Director, Mobogenie India
Mobogenie India’s managing director Alex Qian Haitao took the stage to talk about The future of Mobile application marketplace in India.
Alex discussed the roadblocks that the mobile marketplaces are currently having, with the major three being 1. The user is being neglected, 2. Limited UI capabilities 3. Low technological absorptive capacity.
Following this he shared the success formula of Chinese Internet companies (appstores) i.e. the final product consists of two components – Functions (App download, App research etc.) and usability (UI)
Fireside Chat: India – The New Pioneer in M-Commerce
Shown Above: Rajesh Sawhney and Kunal Bahl
Rajesh Sawhney, Founder, GSF Accelerator and Kunal Bahl, Founder & CEO, Snapdeal took the stage to discuss the subject of India – The New Pioneer in M-commerce. Below are the keypoints from this fireside conversation.
Kunal Bahl shared that the number of mobile users of Snapdeal is growing, he said “2 years back, 5% of the transactions were done through mobile and now that has risen to 50%”
When Rajesh Sawhney asked Snapdeal’s founder what did he think about acquiring a company, Kunal replied that it was important to know what does one want, and consider the variables involved – head count, logistics partners etc. before going ahead with one.
“Fulfilling the task of being among the 3-4 leading e-commerce companies, 3-4 years down the line involves a lot more concentration” said Kunal “Snapdeal’s current priority is distribution”
Rajesh Sawhney raised the question that since there are still issues in payments, till when will CoD continue, to this Kunal Bahl answered “85% of consumer spends in India is cash, online it is 60%. CoD is going to decrease by just 5% in the coming year. And it will continue to dominate.”
A member of from audience made a statement that ‘e-commerce is taking away the joy of shopping socially by providing festive offers. Kunal Bahl said “Consumers buy only where they find value for their money. Kids in India still take permission from their parents to shop on and offline. People can sit together on a laptop and browse products online. The only thing technology is changing is the pattern of buying and not the happiness.”
Shown above: Kshitij Marwah (On left) and Vishal Gondal (On right)
To discuss the hot topic of wearables Kshitij Marwah, MIT Media Lab/Harvard Medical School and Vishal Gondal, Founder & CEO at GOQii Inc, took the stage. Right at the beginning of the session Ksitij Marwah took out his Google Glass and put it on. The duo expressed that mobile is not new, mobile is old, it is the era of wearables.
Vishal Gondal – All big companies are into building advance sensors, to increase the use cases for mobile and wearables. But all these devices lack common sense. A wearable detecting a heart attack is no good if it can’t get a doctor at the right time. Once this common sense is included in the devices, they will perform amazingly.
Panel Discussion – Cashing in on Mobile
Like Troy Malone, GM Evernote, many executives had not considered exploring the mobile market in India as recently as one year ago. As cheaper smart phones flood the market, Evernote has realized the importance of participating in India’s mobile ecosystem. To capitalize on this growth, companies like Nazara and Open Garden are also expanding to India. Nazara’s Game Fund provides young developers with funding to cash in on the mobile ecosystem in India. With the transformation in the mobile market in the past year, the requirement of an ecosystem can be felt in India. To enhance this ecosystem, Google helps by providing various platforms like Google App, Google Cloud and Google Monetization API’s such as Google AdSense to name a few.
Fireside Chat – Reinventing the Rules
Shown Above: (From Left) Deepak Dhingra, Hugo Barra, Manu Kumar
Xiaomi believes in “Innovation everyone can enjoy,”. They focus on building products with high-end specs and technology that is affordable for everyone. Apart from its product innovation, Xiaomi focuses on community driven software development which it has demonstrated in India. They encourage R&D teams to be formed in India who will build products addressing the requirements specific to India such as safety concerns and poor electricity leading to discharged mobile phone batteries. Hugo Barra, VP of Xiaomi Global, says “We are not here to chase KPI’s and money, for us user happiness is of utmost importance”. He recently spent time in call centers talking to customers who are unhappy and gave a 1 star rating. He believes that building relationships with the community is a key driver of success.
Panel Discussion: Globalization of Chinese Companies – How important is India?
Shown Above: Dippak Khurana, Wang Zhe, Kenny Ye, Alex Qian Haitao, Eric Villines
India’s gaming market is now what China’s gaming market was four years ago. In China, advertising and gaming are the main sources of revenue with gaming fueling the mobile ecosystem in China. With increased usage of mobile phones and apps, the gaming market is expected to bloom in India as well. Casual games comprise of 50% of the games in China. One challenge that will be faced in India is the difference in perspectives when it comes to gaming. In China users pay to win, whereas in India users play to win. In China, users tend to invest more money to ensure higher chances at winning.
Panel Discussion – Mobile Payment: The Future of Transactions
With India being a country with trust deficit, cash on delivery is the popular mode of payment used. Carrier payments and in-app purchases are not being widely used in India, and this scenario might take a while to change. There is a long way to go before credit cards become the source of payment and cash on delivery takes a back seat, however, users are warming up to the idea of online transactions. This could be seen in Freecharge, an online recharge portal. “FreeCharge had 20% mobile transactions in September 2013 and by September 2014, this has increased to 80%” said FreeCharge Founder Kunal Shah.
Panel Discussion: Taking Mobile and Travel to the Next Level
Shown Above: Ravi Gururaj, Bhavesh Aggarwal, Rajesh Magow, Raghunandan G, Hari Nair
With the advent of mobile, we have revolutionized travel today, particularly through cab and flight bookings. The convenience of mobile bookings has inevitably increased the number of users in the industry . MakeMyTrip, for example, reported 1.2 billion gross bookings in its last financial year. Olacabs Co-Founder and CEO, Bhavish Aggarwal started providing cab bookings through a call center when it was first founded. Today Olacabs is in 16 countries receiving 70% of their cab bookings through apps. TaxiForSure Founder and Director, Raghunandan G mentioned increased user satisfaction upon using the app for booking, as well as increased comfort for the drivers when they use mobiles. Not only has the means of transportation changed, but booking holiday destinations has become increasingly easier as well. HolidayIQ.com has a travel community in India of 2 million members out of which 1 million users provided consistent feedback which further helps other users make better travel plans.
Panel Discussion: Mobile in India – Startup Perspective
The startup ecosystem is growing in India with startups emerging in many different fields. All startups have a problem they wish to solve through their product or service with a different motto in mind. Ric Zhou, Co-Founder of Lengjing SDK believes products should be built for all age groups. Sumit Jain Co-Founder and CEO of Gupshup and Webaroo believes that the focus should be on tier 2 and tier 3 cities. Bharati Jacob, Managing Partner in Seedfund believes certain white spaces should be filled with the help of the mobile platform, including apps with content in different local languages. For example, Apps for cricket might be made in a variety of different local languages in India. Grocery and medical supplements can also be provided through apps. The diversity of India can be reflected in the diversity of the apps it has.