Panelists: Naveen Tewari, Founder/CEO, Inmobi; Sachin Bansal, Founder/CEO, Flipkart
Moderator: Vikram Chandra, Group CEO & Executive Director, NDTV
India ranks the third in the world for smartphone subscribers, having over 100 million users with roughly 40 million users added every year. These users spend over 3 hours on average everyday on their smartphones, out of which one-third is spent on apps. With mobile phones advancing and the cost of the internet decreasing, a world of opportunity has opened for mobile app developers in the country. The cost of starting a business is declining facilitating developers to make apps with ease. According to Sachin Bansal, Founder and CEO of Flipkart, there are plenty of funds available in the mobile internet space. A mobile apps ecosystem is seen forming in the country with more apps being created for all sorts of applications. “Payment may be a regulation issue, outside anything which is regulation controlled, we will create some of the best apps in the world,” says Naveen Tewari, Founder and CEO of Inmobi. Though the progress can be witnessed, however, there are still some issues that need to be addressed when it comes to the mobile ecosystem in India.
Kenya can be seen emerging in the mobile app world with a rapid rise in the number of locally built world class products solving challenges faced by the country, something India has not yet witnessed. Sachin Bansal believes it will come about in India when an enabling environment for app development will be nurtured, and good quality people will leave their jobs and start companies. “The environment has just come together for mobile internet innovation and the next two years would be different with ten times the size of this,” says Sachin Bansal. In the mobile world, the more the competition, the more the clutter, the better the quality of apps. Competition in China has fostered mobile app innovations leading China to where it is today. “We should set up mobile app villages which are purely and fundamentally focused on creating an app economy, as a lot of the newest problems and challenges in the country in any sector can be solved through mobile apps,” says Naveen Tewari. He believes India is yet at the first stage of mobile application whereas the world is at the next wave with outstanding quality apps. “The next wave for us would be solving problems in the best user experience manner, not by creating applications just to do things.” added Naveen. Such an ecosystem will help in effectively dealing with problems faced by the country with the help of technology.
Apart from the quality and diversification of application of mobile apps, other massive changes that will be seen in the next couple of years is content and design innovation, which has not yet happened in India the way it should. “Design component within the device is such a big factor in what the device can do and what the users can do with the device, because the form factor is limited and you need to be sure with what you are doing. The design as a capability within our country is on the lower end. We may have to import design talent in next five years from across the globe or train people,” stipulates Naveen. Till now lots of infrastructure challenges related to app development have been solved. In the near future both design and higher quality content as categories to creating outstanding applications will be focused upon.
Not only have mobile first companies tapped into the potential of mobile apps, but online first companies are making apps as well now, such as Flipkart. Many challenges faced by the country in various sectors, such as education and healthcare, can be addressed through technology products. The question that now arises is, will the solutions be imported or will they be built here at home. If built in India then 500 billion worth of software products will be built ourselves. That capital will stay within the country leading to wealth creation and the start of an entrepreneurial cycle. It will margin the scale seen in China and US. India has the potential to do it. Larger developers are looking for where the global market is heading, and soon they will see India for this, as they did China four years back.
Author: Priyanka Taya