Insight: Bangalore avoids being Bangalored
March 30th 2012 - Friday
Bangalore was always touted the Silicon Valley of the East, so it comes as no surprise that the city and its entrepreneurs – for long who have endeavored at being at the forefront of new-age industries, driven principally by the success with outsourcing, are now focusing on yet another new wave of sectoral transformation.
Only this time the emphasis seems to be shifting from businesses to individuals as potential customers! As the technology services industry matured from low-end project work to annuity-based engagements, it also moved from discrete non-core services portfolios to tangible outcome-based solutions, thereby providing a huge platform for entrepreneurs to invest and commence outfits that could address the variegated needs of a host of sectors. India’s investments in retail telecom networks brought in the much-needed boost for anyone with technology-centric competencies (or experience in having worked for one or the other outsourcing/ captive centers in the country) to hit it out on their own.
Private capital has been significantly forthcoming in the country, adding to the growth pie immensely. While companies like Electronic Arts and a few others do operate in the country their foray into leveraging India for gaming and related skills has only been a very recent development. Yes, Zynga is present in India, and so will others come to the country to leverage not just the competencies but also the fast-growing consumer base for retail solutions and apps.
Mobile penetration is by far the most significant and fastest-growing segment in the country, so it is only natural for app development companies and gaming firms to look at selling to the Indians. These industries necessarily require a lot of content localization and cultural sensitization to gain and sustain revenues, best achieved through operating directly in target markets.
I wouldn’t be surprised if the gaming and app industry becomes the new harbinger for growth in many fast-growing nations across Asia-Pacific and Latin America, given increasing purchasing power and broadband penetration on the one end, and a plethora of cultural distinctions that create new needs all the time – most currently unfulfilled. Bangalore is not the only story.
Similar stories can be seen in places like Seoul, Sao Paulo, Buenos Aires, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai, Beijing, Bangkok etc, where broadband and mobile penetration coupled by young entrepreneurs who are willing to break from tradition and jump onto the entrepreneurial bandwagon are boosting the industry’s morale and fortunes.
While existence of a strong technology and services sector in India is helping, I wouldn’t stretch my imagination to make presence of such strengths a necessary precursor to making a discernible impact. It is only wise for us to remind ourselves of the “leapfrogging” that happened with Nigeria and Kenya (with respect to adoption of mobile payment systems in the absence of even reasonably good banking and financial systems). I think gaming and apps will perhaps create the new “cultural leveler” going forward. Being too ambitious or optimistic perhaps?
Bobby Varanasi is CEO of Matryzel Consulting, and is one of the top 25 Global Powerhouse leaders in the sourcing space. He is also Global Ambassador and Strategic Advisory Board member of IAOP.