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Facebook eyes big pie in Digital India revolution: Why it is good for India’s start-up ecosystem

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To say that the India startup scene is seeing a boom is an understatement of sorts. Per Nasscomm, India is now among the five largest startup communities in the world with more than 4,200 companies (growth of 40 percent), which have created over 80,000 jobs so far. Unsurprisingly, global companies like Qualcomm, Google and Facebook have taken notice and are doing their bit to make the most of the opportunities.

Facebook for one has already realized the massive potential in the startups and developers in India. Its FBStart initiative launched last year, to help app developers around the globe, has seen massive participation from India. In fact, of the $50 million it distributed to Asia Pacific startups, $20 million went to developers in India. More than 70 percent of developers who have integrated their apps with Facebook are based out of US, and major chunk comes from India.

It is little wonder then Facebook is excited about the startup space in India and has announced its partnership with Nasscomm to support startups and app developers. Nasscomm s Leaders Building for the Next Billion Program is inviting and will support startups and developers, and Facebook is among its first partners.

Facebook boasts over 132 million active users in India, which is second only to the US 193 million. What s more interesting though is that Facebook says of these users, 90 percent access the social network site from their mobile phones. Reuters though recently quoted Counterpoint researchers claiming that despite the massive userbase, Facebook has failed to monetize it. They estimate that Facebook earns around $15 million from India a quarter, while Google in comparison earns close to $350 million.

With the number of smartphone users in India growing with every passing day, Facebook wants to make the most of the new-to-Internet users. By eyeing Internet startups and local app developers Facebook seems to be focused on creating an app ecosystem, which will not only help the social media grow, but also help it in making money.

ALSO READ: Mark Zuckerberg reveals Facebook s India connection

Further driving in the importance of India for the company, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg recently revealed his connection to India. During his Townhall Q&A with PM Narendra Modi at Menlo Park, Zuckerberg revealed how India played an important role in helping him finding the vision for Facebook. If that wasn t enough, Zuckerberg is now scheduled to fly down to Delhi on October 28 to host a Townhall meet.

As mentioned above, apart from Facebook, other companies too have showed quite a bit of interest in PM Modi s Digital India initiative, and have also been investing in Indian startups. Qualcomm Ventures has been actively investing in Indian startups, and recently announced that it would invest up to $150 million (Rs.9.8 billion) in Indian startups. Google too has been eyeing the space closely, and recently CEO Sundar Pichai described India as the fastest growing start up nation in the world.

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  • Published Date: October 16, 2015 2:42 PM IST