Airtel, Google partnership shows tech’s interest in India
Indian multinational telecom company Airtel has announced a partnership with Google Cloud, emphasising the country’s increasing importance to tech companies.
Targeted at firms undergoing digital transformation, the partnership means Airtel will now provide G suite, Microsoft’s portfolio of apps including Gmail, Docs and Drive, as part of its own ICT offerings.
Airtel previously had a partnership in place with Amazon Web Services, while Reliance Jio, India’s largest mobile network operator, partnered with Microsoft last year. Particular attention is being directed towards small and medium size businesses (SMBs). In a press release accompanying the announcement, Airtel hailed the growth opportunities in a country with the second highest number of internet users in the world, saying it counted among its customers over 500,000 SMBs.
According to a report from consulting firm McKinsey, by 2023 India is projected to have up to 800mn internet users and 700mn smartphones. Digital transformation is also expected to unlock previously inaccessible efficiencies in industries such as logistics, energy and retail, creating up to $150bn in economic value.
Thomas Kurian, CEO of Google Cloud said: "Indian companies are making a massive transformation to the cloud and we're thrilled to partner with Airtel to support this transition. The combination of G Suite's collaboration and productivity tools with Airtel's digital business offerings will help accelerate digital innovations for thousands of Indian businesses."
In yet another example of Western tech companies’ interest in a relatively untapped market, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos recently embarked on a tour of India that received a mixed response. Timed with the tour were announcements regarding initiatives Amazon is launching in the country, including a fleet of sustainable electric delivery rickshaws.
Bukalapak raises $1.5bn in record Singapore IPO, say sources
Bukalapak, currently the fourth largest Indonesian ecommerce company, is said to have raised $1.5 billion in the first IPO by an Indonesian tech unicorn.
Three unidentified, but likely reliable, sources told Reuters the order books for Bukalapak’s IPO were covered by multiples, with one source claiming the issue attracted more than $6 billion in demand despite being listed at the top of its indicated price range.
Bukalapak's 50x growth
Bukalapak was looking to raise just $300 million just a few months ago. The figure grew to $800 million before rising to $1.5 billion as investors jockeyed for a piece of the company.
Covid-19 has had a positive impact on many ecommerce operators, and Bukalapak also has strong investment lines via Singapore sovereign investor GIC and Microsoft, among others. The company focuses on micro, small and medium-sized enterprises.
Indonesia is Southeast Asia’s biggest economy.
Indonesia’s four biggest ecommerce companies
Tokopedia is an Indonesian technology company specializing in e-commerce. It was founded in 2009 by William Tanuwijaya and Leontinus Alpha Edison.
Shopee was first launched in Singapore in 2015, and later expanded its reach to Malaysia, Thailand, Taiwan, Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Brazil, Mexico, Chile, and Colombia.
Lazada is a Singaporean multinational technology company which focuses mainly on e-commerce. Founded by Maximilian Bittner with the backing of Rocket Internet in 2012, it is currently owned by the Alibaba Group after its acquisition in 2016.
Bukalapak is an Indonesian e-commerce company. It was founded in 2010 as an online marketplace to enable small and medium enterprises go online and has expanded to support smaller traditional family owned businesses.