From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Not much
Mains level : Paper 3- Opportunity of Indian IT industry
The article analyses the significance of the Indian ban on Chinese apps. The ban also presents Indian IT companies with unique opportunity.
- The current India-China border standoff has entered into cyberspace.
How China took lead in IT
- The Chinese government censored and banned several popular Western websites and applications years ago.
- In the intervening years the Chinese Internet market exploded and has grown to over 900 million users.
- The Chinese government insulated Chinese entrepreneurs from Big Tech in Silicon Valley.
- Home-grown apps at first were faithful reproductions of Silicon Valley, but soon morphed into distinctly Chinese applications tailored solely to the home market.
- According to the 2016 White House report, the Chinese have leapfrogged even the U.S. in AI research.
- In this case, the intellectual property being produced actually belongs to China and is not a faithful duplicate of someone else’s product or technology.
- This has far-reaching implications.
Significance of India’s ban
- India now has the lowest Internet data costs in the world.
- In its attempt to dominate the rest of the world, the Chinese Internet industry desperately needs India’s 500-plus million netizens to continue to train AI algorithms they put together.
- The ban on apps in India is not only a geopolitical move but also a strategic trade manoeuvre that can have a significant economic impact.
- Ban on Chinese apps allows our home-grown IT talent to focus on the newly arrived Internet user.
- However, India’s focus remains on exporting IT services while paying little attention to servicing our own nation’s tech market.
- India spent the last two decades exporting technology services to developed countries in the West, the vacuum created as the Indian Internet grew has been filled by American Big Tech and by the Chinese.
- After the removal of more than 118 Chinese apps, Indian techies have started trying to fill the holes.
- The primary Indian IT objective must shift from servicing others to providing for ourselves.
- Focus should not be simply to replace what the exiting firms have so far been providing.
- Focus should be on providing services and products of high quality that will be used by everyday Indians across the country.
- The aim of providing netizens with the same services across diverse markets is overarching — regional barriers created by language exist within our own nation.
- The fundamental focus of the new digital products should be to provide for hyper-regional necessities and preferences.
- Hyper-local and hyper-regional services with great accessibility that are also portable across our linguistic diversity, are likely to succeed in creating one of the strongest Internet markets in the world.
Consider the question “What are factors responsible for the lack of innovation in the Indian IT industry? How the ban on Chinese apps provide the IT industry with the opportunity to fill the vacuum?”
Indian IT companies must seize the opportunity provided by the exit of Chinese IT companies and come up with products transcending regional barriers and allowing accessibility.