India developers should look within for mobile opportunities

Rather than dream of moving to the West, Indian developers should look within their local market for opportunities, especially with the country's mobile apps and games market projected to generate US$433.5 million by 2016.
Written by Nitin Puri, Contributor

India's mobile apps and gomes market is projected to generate 27 nillion rupees (US$433.5 million) by 2016, driven by strong smartphone growth and an expanding 3G user base.

According to a report by Avendus Capital, mobile internet is opening the door to large-scale monetization of digital content through paid apps, with 67 million smartphone users expected to be added this year alone in India. By 2016, the total smartphone population will swell to 382 million, reports NDTV.com.

Made in India

Similarly, 3G subscriptions are expected to rise from 11 million in 2011 to 56 million this year, and 266 million by 2016. That means almost one quarter of India's population will have 3G. Furthermore, more than 50 percent of mobile internet traffic, along with paid content revenue, now comes from smartphones with the Apple and Google appstores dominating this segment.

Now, if you look at the other side of this equation, India is known to have a vast talent pool specializing in IT. Over the past few years, startups have taken the initiative to dive into both the mobile apps and games sector. Indians should take pride in not just being consumers, but also developers of both mobile apps and games.

However, and this is a constant issue with those employed in this sector, the lure of hitting it big in the West--or basically living the American dream--preoccupies the mind of many developers. While working on a project in conjunction with a company or team based abroad, there are always one or two developers looking at expanding their horizon and relocating abroad, primarily with the goal to earn a larger salary.

What many don't realize, though, until they arrive in places such as Canada, the U.S. or the U.K., is that while they get paid substantially more than they get in India, a closer look at thier paycheck reveals the substantial amount of taxes they also need to pay. Combine this with the higher cost of living, along with paying for basic necessities of life such as food, shelter, and clothing, they will soon realize youthey were better off in India to begin with.

My advice to developers looking to settle abroad is stay put in India, as things are just beginning to pick up and are going to get even better. With the current depreciation and stabilization of the Indian rupee, companies are bound to approach India once again for new projects to gain the simple cost-benefit ratio.

My other advice is that, meanwhile, Indian developers start approaching venture capitalists in the country who are willing to invest in their product or service, and there are indeed plenty of good ones in India.

Finally, as it's becoming difficult to come up with the greatest app or mobile game that will make you rich overnight, look at more practical, day-to-day problems that are unique to people in India, and identify ways you can translate this into an app, thus, providing viable solutions.

As for games, having worked in the education and e-learning space in India for three years, I'm surprised that games haven't been fully implemented within learning tools, as they have been done in the West. Again, another niche area that can be filled, in India, by Indian developers. 

Editorial standards