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G-Startup Stage Panel: India on Pace to Match China As Entrepreneurial Hotbed in Five Years

Startups in Asia

India’s long stagnate startup climate is ripe for entrepreneurs, Vivek Bhargava, the managing director of India’s digital consulting firm Communicat2, said on Thursday’s G-Startup stage in a panel-discussion on the best Asian start-up locations.

Bhargava said that in the past twelve years, India’s strengthened infrastructure and intellectual property laws and its mushrooming middle class, make it an enticing start-up location. India’s internet and mobile sectors are particularly strong – Bhargava said the country is currently adding 10 million mobile users per month.

“In the past two years, it’s been crazy,” Bhargava said. “India is very exciting. What happened in China over the past five years will happen to India now.”

Alvin Wang, a Beijing-born entrepreneur, sees the startup climate in China as a mixed bag. Although it’s a huge market, it’s also fiercely competitive, and tarnished by lax intellectual property laws.

“If you are emerging, competitors will find ways to copy you,” Wang said. “Then they will crack you and beat you. If you copy, you’ll make money. If you don’t you’ll fail.”

India also faces drawbacks, Bhargava said. The biggest, perhaps, is that English is the de-facto language, and English-language tech and media titans like Facebook, Google, and Youtube have a firm grip on India’s market.

“From day one, you’re competing with the world,” Bhargava said.

Panelists from Thailand, Indonesia and Australia, also talked about the pros and cons of starting a business in their respective home bases.

Ruslan Kogan, CEO of Kogan Technology in Australia, concluded by arguing that in the net age it doesn’t matter so much where you start a business, as long as you execute the plan.

“Too many people spend too much time thinking about where and not enough how can I improve the life of customers,” Kogan said.  “Most important thing is, how can it improve people’s lives? Once you have that, you will make profit. When you do that, they will find you.”

Nick Compton

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