How Tech giants Facebook, Google may gobble up e-comm, fintech rivals in India


The leap of global technology giants Google and Facebook is creating new challenges for its competitors not only globally but in India too. After tasting spectacular success on most of the businesses including e-books, IT, smartphones and search advertising, they are eyeing e-commerce and fintech spaces in India.

All the smaller players in above-mentioned sectors rely on Google and Facebook to promote their businesses. In fact, both these giants have become almost unavoidable paths to these businesses.

In addition to this, both the global tech behemoths have entered these sectors. In the listing sector, Google listing platform is competing with Just Dail and Zomato whereas, in payment space, its firm Tez is a rival of home-grown Paytm. In travel space, Google Flight is taking on well-established startups like MakeMyTrip and Yatra.

Facebook-owned WhatsApp has already started WhatsApp for Business. It is reported to offer services including booking e-ticketing, paying utility bills and buying financial services.

The social networking giant has also launched its marketplace in India. The Quikr-Olx kind of platform lists various sellers across categories such as electronics, entertainment, housing, vehicles and five others. The platform lets buyers use filters such as price and distance in a particular city.

India is a home to around 241 million Facebook users, which accounts 11 per cent of the total users and the largest in the world.

At present, Google has a market capitalisation of almost $753 billion and Facebook commands $515 billion, outlines a BS report. Both firms have been reaping the benefits in the form of revenue as well.

Facebook’s India arm reportedly made Rs 177 crore revenue in FY16, the last year for which it reported revenues. In the same period, Google India made Rs 5,904 crore. Globally, Google closed FY16 with $90 billion in revenues while Facebook ended with $27 billion in the same period.

According to Industry experts, data is the strongest point for both the behemoths. They can leverage data and offer various products and services. With the advent of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Virtual Reality (VR), they are now using the technologies to push options to users.

Reacting to the recent Facebook move, Paytm founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma had accused the social giant of being the most evil company in the world. Earlier, they tried to dupe the country with what called the free Internet. Now, they are flouting all guidelines and rules and bringing out an app that does not need three-step authentication to make online and mobile payments, he said.

One of the prime reasons for both these companies hailing India is its potential and mounting challenges in other bigger markets. In India, state control of the Internet is nowhere near China’s levels, making this a more attractive market for the global digital giants.

However, many stakeholders in the tech industry are of the view that in the high-stakes battle between Google and Facebook, India will win as it would lead to more investments and online penetration.

Both the tech giants are also running programmes to bring startups and entrepreneurs on its platforms. Google had made a commitment to bringing 20 million businesses online by 2017, in addition, to training over two million Indian developers on Android development. Facebook, too, has a ‘Boost Your Business’ programme catering to the villages in India to help entrepreneurs in improving their business prospects.

Can they really disrupt the e-commerce and fintech sectors? With their size, they certainly hold the potential. Will the Government stop them from playing monopoly game in the country? We will have to wait and watch.

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