Because we are the world’s largest and fastest growing open global marketplace
A series of initiatives launched by the government in the last 15 months — Digital India, Start Up India, Skilling India Make in India, India Beyond the Metros — are all aimed at unleashing the tremendous power and potential of Indians who can be the active consumers as well as services providers, locally and globally. Of the 1.25 billion population, those below 35 years — 800 million — will take the country forward.
Upward social mobility, growing smartphone penetration and rapid urbanisation have created a demand for services and goods that was not on the horizon of an average Indian 5 to 7 years ago. The fact that an Indian comfortable with English is digitally empowered also provides a huge opportunity for global corporations, who view India as a huge consumer demand market.
Most global firms operating in India have adapted their products to the needs of local consumers and marketplace dynamics. Examples of localisation include a large food chain whipping up vegetarian fare to suit Indian sensitivities and taste, an online retailer and an e-commerce and taxi aggregator accepting cash on delivery considering the low penetration of credit cards in India.
Hardly a week goes by when a global CEO, founder or large investor is not calling on the Indian Prime Minister to access India’s technical competence and strengthen off-shoring relationships.
They also visit to develop strategies to tap the growing Indian market for their products and services — from aircraft makers and leading online shopping group to cutting-edge technology providers and social media pioneers.
Narendra Modi’s second visit to the US further strengthened ties between the two nations with a strong differentiator. This time around the bonds were inked not only at the G2G level but also at the G2B level.
India has the advantage of being literate in English. The speed and scale of digital literacy is high, with 98 per cent of the overall online search in English and just 2 per cent in Indian languages. This is fostering skill development and IoT readiness.
A double digit growth in the adoption of smartphones, a projected 18 per cent growth in internet penetration by 2018 and a 2 MBPS broadband connectivity to 600,000 villages will bring about efficiency, speed and more money in the hands of Indians, making them upwardly mobile with higher purchasing power.
Impact of BPOs
The BPO industry too is playing a key role. This is something few had envisaged when they sent work to India, mostly perceived as price arbitrage, which changed over the years to domain expertise and best in class quality.
The BPO industry and the client community is upbeat about the government’s recent allocation of $70 million for training and expansion in non-metro locations. This indicates the government’s recognition and commitment to the industry as distinct from IT services. It will also be the largest and fastest job creating machine for more than 2 million young people in the non-metros over the next four years.
In the next phase of the evolution of BPOs, work will flow from the five metros to the next 40 to 100 cities in India with a population of over a million.
As more youth get employed and their disposable incomes increase, they will create a demand pull for goods and services.
BPOs in interior India will supplement the availability of English language staffers for the global markets. Clients will be able to access Indian talent across the country at different price points delivering better quality, productivity and value. The local Indian BPO which will be servicing the 500 to 900 million Indians will have Customer Relationship Management (CRM) in English and hence will be the largest talent pool working in English-based CRM.
The e-governance and m-governance initiatives of the government will also open up opportunities for the BPO industry, creating employment and buying power in India’s hinterland in the process.
For American corporations in particular, India is more than the BPO destination of choice offering an unmatched economic value proposition; it offers an immense opportunity to ‘Make in India’ and throws open an unmet demand for consumer products and services.
It is in the best interests of both nations to leverage the emergence of complementary opportunities as this increase in bilateral trade will support the steady increase of jobs and income in both countries.