Which Indian celebrity is the least hypocritical
Tim Cook, Apple's CEO, recently traveled to India for the first time. First he flew to New Delhi, where Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "Make in India" campaign, which touts India as an economic paradise and the whole subcontinent as a great investment destination, attracts business gurus from all over the world. Cook and Apple, both giants of the American tech sector, are only now showing interest in India, the country that it is said will soon overtake China as the fastest growing economy in the world.
Cook apparently had a very clever travel plan put together. It wasn't just about business, deals and political talks in New Delhi. No, it dealt with the three topics that concern the Indian public the most: Bollywood, cricket and religion. On the first day, Cook prayed in Mumbai's famous Siddhivinayak Temple, which is dedicated to the Hindu god Ganesh. Such a visit looks good on a CEO who has come to conquer the Indian business world, as Ganesh is the god Hindus worship for removing obstacles in their way.
A beggar asks for help. He wants to charge his cell phone
Then he visited a "street contractor" named Altaf Bhai, who specializes in cracking Cook's company's cell phones for just eight dollars. To round off the day, Cook went to one of the glamorous parties of Bollywood megastar Shah Rukh Khan in his private mansion. The next day, he continued his charm offensive against half a billion potential customers: He flew to the industrial city of Kanpur in the north of the country to watch a top division cricket match. And to top it off, he announced new research and development centers across the country, which he said will bring 4,000 new jobs.
On the Gaffar market, in the center of the capital, there are shops where you can get a deceptively real iPhone for a fraction of the actual price, mostly made from smuggled or stolen Apple parts. In the narrow streets of this chaotically prosperous district, any expensive part of an iPhone can be replaced with a new one - without any guarantee, of course. The neighborhood is overcrowded and booming, after all, every young person and adult wants an iPhone or something that looks exactly like it. Cell phones have become one of the most important status symbols in the country.
Apple is not the first company to realize the potential of the Indian market. Other giants from Silicon Valley such as Google or Microsoft have been there for years and operate very successfully from their headquarters in cities such as Bengaluru or Hyderabad.
India also has its own very lively start-up scene. There are 220 million cell phone owners here, the world's second largest market. These are impressive numbers - and yet only 30 percent of the Indian population own a cell phone.
India is the next big thing for IT corporations
The impact that cell phones and their technologies have on our lives can be seen on every Indian street: At some crossroads in the capital, beggars demonstrate to a beggar what one can do with products from Silicon Valley, with cell phones and apps like Whatsapp and that they can even help with begging. The beggars send each other text messages telling each other which driver is donating money in which car, so that their colleagues two intersections further know who to address specifically.
On the one hand this is an example of the social failure of a city and its society, on the other it shows that technology gives entrepreneurial techniques to people who are fighting the hardest for survival. And that in turn shows the opportunities technology holds. All of this sounds so promising that tech companies from the US and Europe are handing each other over.
But in their race for India as the next big thing after China, many seem to approach it with the wrong attitude. In this huge, but also incredibly complex market, they are impatiently waiting for overnight success. Companies and investors alike want to parachute into the center of the action and make money tomorrow. But it is not that simple.
Zuckerberg thought he was the Messiah
"If you are looking for quick success, India is the wrong place for you. But if you are looking for long-term success, India is the only real place for you." An Indian diplomat has occasionally interpreted what Premier Modi is really about with his claim "Make in India".
The world's largest social network, Facebook, recently decided to "crack" India. Mark Zuckerberg, boss and founder of the world's most successful communication tool, believed that the millions of Indians without connection were a market that was just waiting for a conqueror. He apparently saw himself as a kind of messiah and declared the Facebook product internet.org to be an initiative of pure philanthropy, which, under the catchphrase "Free Basics", was supposed to give millions of people the Internet. But there was a catch.
The biggest economic problem Facebook has ever had
Zuckerberg wanted Facebook to be the only entrance for these people on their way onto the net; On top of that, he wanted to control what people on the Internet - apart from Facebook - are even allowed to access. Apparently he thought a few hundred million poor, poorly educated people would see his gift as a blessing. And fail to understand why someone should ever refuse such generosity.
But it turned out differently. A few vigilant Indian activists and start-up entrepreneurs worried and started a countermovement to Facebook's ideas with which the company wanted to cement its own market dominance in the previously unrivaled Indian market. Facebook fought back. According to newspaper reports, the company is said to have invested 38 million euros in a small, swiftly waged PR war. It didn't help: the Indian regulatory authorities had long since become suspicious.
It's clear why Facebook is putting so much pressure on India. China cannot be conquered by western tech companies at the moment, so India will be Facebook's second biggest opportunity after the US. Enthusiasm for Facebook continues to grow on the subcontinent. Many young and old Indians register every day. The British Guardian recently wrote that Facebook internally expects that 30 percent of all new users worldwide will come from India in 2020.
It's not a small goal. Indian civil society, start-up entrepreneurs and activists are using Facebook's strength against Facebook. They launched entire campaigns to generate attention. Then Indian Youtube stars jumped on the topic, like India Bakchod. (His last name is in Indian slang for someone who talks nonsense.)
Even an Indian government website on the subject suddenly became extremely popular, gaining five million hits after posting a couple of videos explaining the net neutrality issue there. The videos were also shared frequently, probably the most common on Facebook. As a result, they were widely discussed among Indian youth and in the media.
Many people were angry with Zuckerberg, others supported Facebook's initiative with the argument that the market alone had to determine success and failure. The debate gradually became the biggest economic problem Facebook ever had to solve. This was unexpected for the company.
The bosses of Google and Microsoft are Indian. But what follows from this?
Zuckerberg responded with a ruthless charm offensive. Last September, he invited Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to a live interview on Facebook. Zuckerberg began the conversation with a memory of his own trip to India: "When we were having a hard time on Facebook, Steve Jobs advised me a long time ago to go to an Indian temple that he had visited in search of a vision and himself Future for Apple. " He hit the right note with Modi.
The premier is a social media fan himself. Both during the election and afterwards, he uses social media with great success. His "rose gold" iPhone 6 is probably the most famous of all iPhones. Modi has more than 20 million followers on Twitter and more than 34 million "Likes" on Facebook. On Twitter and Facebook he congratulates Indian cricket players on their victories, politicians on their birthdays and sometimes he shares yoga exercises. All of this is the result of a radical social media campaign that a couple of young professionals come up with for Modi.
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