Tech Stories that Changed the Fate of India in 2016

by January 3, 2017 0 comments

Although, 2016 witnessed some major positive changes and launches in the tech domain, but it was also a year of shutdowns, scale-backs, reorganizations, and much-needed perspective.

Therefore, let’s check out some of the hot trending news that almost rocked India this year:

Netflix launched in India

This year Netflix unveiled its services in scores of new countries that includes India, Singapore, South Korea, Vietnam, Pakistan, the Philippines, and Indonesia thereby also giving a huge Asian push in the market. The global streaming war in India was effectively fetched because of this. Amazon followed suit with Prime video later in the year.

TRAI Ruled in Favor of Net Neutrality, Banning Free Basics

Couple of months back TRAI ruled in favor of net neutrality by passing a rule that no service providers in India are eligible to charge diverse prices for data services based on the content. It passed on after months of blaming and counter blaming. Ultimately, it put the barrier to Facebook’s Free Basics, which is a Zuckerberg’s initiative to bring poor people online with cheap internet packages.

If any of the service goes against the rule the TRAI will charge US$735 for each day without any compromise. After six months, this fine will be implemented and after two years the newly passed regulation will be reviewed.

Binny Bansal Appointed the New CEO at Flipkart

Flipkart, one of the India’s biggest e-commerce company completely altered its management team this year, appointing Binny Bansal as the CEO and Sachin Bansal as the Executive Chairman. Earlier, Binny Bansal, was working as a chief operating officer and fellow co-founder.

Woman in the Unicorn Club

In a year when funding has been hard to come by, and startups are shutting shop, ecommerce company ShopClues became a freshly minted unicorn. Not just that, co-founder Radhika Aggarwal became India’s first unicorn entrepreneur.

Indian E-Commerce Changed the Policy

India approved 100 percent foreign investment in marketplace ecommerce companies, formalizing rules for the multi-billion dollar sector for the first time. But while foreign investment was given the go-ahead, the Indian government tightened its leash by adding caveats. Marketplaces are not allowed to influence discounts anymore, and they cannot have more than 25 percent of sales come from one vendor, reports Tech in Asia.

Myntra Suffered a Setback

India’s biggest fashion app Myntra (owned by Flipkart), decided to admit defeat and bring its desktop version back. This was after the startup yanked its desktop and mobile websites, meaning people could only buy things from its app. This annoyed a lot of customers.

“We have been humble enough to realize and listen to our customers’ needs and hence, we are relaunching the desktop version on June 1,” chief executive Ananth Narayanan said, reports The Business Standard.

PepperTap Shuts Sale

One of the leading online grocer in India PepperTap that had a business of US$50 million, closed the shop. This is one of the major news of shutdowns of Indian start-up ecosystem. PepperTap was joined by LocalBanya, TinyOwl, Zoomo, AskMe, and Doormint.

Nikesh Arora quits SoftBank

This wasn’t an Indian story per se, but given the kind of reaction it drew from the country’s startups, it might as well have been. Nikesh had, after all, been instrumental in driving investments in many Indian startups.

In April, a group of investors in SoftBank called on the board to investigate and possibly dismiss Nikesh Arora. Then in June, the heir apparent to Masayoshi Son resigned from his post as president and chief operating officer. The move came only hours after an independent group of SoftBank’s board of directors said it found no merit in the claims of wrongdoing leveled at Nikesh in the past few months, reports Tech in Asia.

Flipkart Acquired Jabong

Online Fashion Company Jabong had been struggling for some time, and Myntra, Flipkart’s fashion unit, snapped it up. For about US$70 million in cash, that is. This created the biggest online fashion portal in India today – Flipkart now owns about 85 percent of the online fashion industry.

Demonetization

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that banknotes of 500 and 1,000 rupee denominations would be withdrawn from circulation stat, as the government cracks its whip against corruption and counterfeit currency. Startups rejoiced to this announcement.

Top startup founders were quick to voice their support for the move, as Indians were nudged towards online payments and cashless transactions. For e.g. India witnessed 85 per cent (Stats given by RBI and Business Today) of cashless transactions through e-wallets and card swipes. Paytm, freecharge, Vodafone M-Pesa, Mobiwik and many others saw it the best opportunity to augment their business.

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