Smartphone boom poised to change Indian economy as it has transformed China

By Hu Weijia Source:Global Times Published: 2017/10/29 20:38:39

India has overtaken the US as the second-largest smartphone market in the world behind China, India's NDTV reported recently, citing a study by Canalys. It can be expected that growing demand for smartphones will lead a revolution in the country's consumption model.

India's smartphone boom is bringing millions of young urban consumers onto the Internet. An upbeat report released by Ericsson last year suggested that smartphone subscriptions and total mobile traffic in India will increase four-fold and 15-fold respectively from 2015 to 2021. With an ever-increasing number of mobile users, India is in a sweet spot in terms of the budding of the Internet economy.

China could be used as a reference. In the third quarter of 2011, China surpassed the US to become the world's largest smartphone market. In the following years, the nation embraced a golden era of the development of the Internet economy. With new forms of business such as WeChat, which was launched in 2011, the Internet economy has begun to change the ways people live and shop in China, and it is making things more convenient. The blistering Internet economy has also encouraged entrepreneurship, offering fertile soil for Internet giants like Alibaba.

In 2016, the revenue of China's Internet economy reached 1.47 trillion yuan ($221.2 billion), increasing 28.5 percent, according to statistics from consulting firm iResearch.

India is trying to copy China. It is possible that India's smartphone boom can create a huge new market for the emerging economy. E-commerce, express delivery services, digital payments, mobile games and streaming video are in their early stages of development, so there is a lot of room to grow. If all goes well, India's Internet economy is likely to see explosive expansion in the next two to three years, adding fresh momentum to consumption growth.

The Internet economy will change India, leading a consumption revolution. The smartphone boom can be seen as the prelude to that exciting moment. Driven by growth in data consumption, the Indian economy is likely to offer a hot investment opportunity for overseas Internet-based companies. The mobile Internet market in India today is similar to that of China several years ago when Chinese technology giants experienced rapid business expansion. Those companies may have a natural advantage in capturing market opportunities in India.

The author is a reporter with the Global Times.


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