Tao Li, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, APUS

Digitalisation and internet of things (IoT) are changing every aspect of our lives at an unprecedented pace and scale. The primary reasons for the migration to digital and mobile platforms are the increasing penetration of affordable smartphones and low data tariffs in the Indian market. As per research by Assocham and PwC, smartphones are penetrating the heartland of India with smartphone users expected to double by 2022. With 36 per cent of mobile phone users in India using a smartphone, the technology adoption is growing at a compound annual growth rate of 12.9 per cent. This has created new opportunities for businesses to get closer to their target audience, especially through more personalised and customized products and services.
With the advent of Gen Z (a generation of consumers who are more aware, value choice and want more control over their experiences), the ecosystem today is very different from that in the 1990s when India went through a transition with privatization and globalisation. Gen Z demands creativity and affordability, and looks forward to a sense of independence enabled by technology adoption. This shift in demographics also demands a shift in the way the industry works. For instance, CUTCUT, a photo editing app with artificial intelligence solutions, enjoys significant popularity, not only because of its powerful functions, but also due to its social media integration and in-app community establishment features. Today, collaborations are emerging as a new core competency for leading businesses across industries. To capture market share, a company does not need to invest in all products or services by itself.
Corporates can collaborate and work together to create unified offerings that prove more valuable than an isolated product or service. The digital age has prompted the expansion of these partnerships to fill gaps, and tap previously inaccessible markets and audiences.
Collaboration allows organisations to expand their capabilities without having to create them in-house, and bear extra costs and risks. For example, content based partnerships have proven to be effective for many content platforms. Collaborations allow them to curate content in a sustained way rather than investing in content creation. Similarly, there are several instances of collaborations between smartphone makers and app developers for pre-installed apps.
Collaborations also prove to be effective when international organisations try to make inroads into the Indian market.
India is a very lucrative market for many technology companies at this point, due to the vast untapped potential. The next billion users are coming online for the first time, and to tap into this market, many companies are eyeing India for expansion.
To understand the heterogeneous population of the country and obtain insights into its economic and social structure, international players should find local collaborations to bring in cultural nuances.
This has become even more relevant with the emergence of local languages online. With local collaborations, mutually beneficial models can be explored. The international companies can share their experience and expertise with local partners while the latter will be able to provide exceptional knowledge and insights to help tap into Tier 2 and Tier 3 towns. With an estimated 500 million Indians looking to access the internet in local languages, collaborations can be beneficial for international companies.
Collaborations can hence help e-platforms and products enter new markets and constituencies.
Given the market realities of the 21st century, it is imperative that companies explore co-opetition rather than competition as a part of their business strategy.
It is essential to devise the right strategy and value proposition to attract the right partners. A thriving partner ecosystem built on an effective digital approach can help a business improve its chances of growth and success. Hence, collaboration and participation will allow businesses to get familiar is with India’s rapidly evolving economic growth and build a cohesive ecosystem.