June 12, 2015
Evolving technology promises to revolutionize the way a vast nation shops and communicates. Online merchants’ sales grow geometrically, as do their losses. Investment banks proclaim they have seen the future, and it works with eye-popping stock-market multiples. Tech investors may feel like they have seen this movie before, but the backdrop is new: India.
Rotten broadband networks and dodgy electricity have kept India, population 1.25 billion, as the world’s sleeping digital giant, despite its depth of engineering talent. A leap forward in cellular, with smartphones selling as cheap as $40 and 3G rates dropping steeply, is set to change all that. The value of goods sold online will double this year to $7 billion, and keep on multiplying to $220 billion by 2030, Goldman Sachs projected in a report last month.