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Everyone wants ‘a piece of India’ – venture capitalist Anupam Mittal to RT

The CEO and celebrity investor spoke to RT about his country’s battle with tech giants like Google

A “major transformation” is unfolding in India, marked by the country’s refusal to apologize for its identity, celebrity entrepreneur Anupam Mittal asserted during the latest episode of RT’s new show, ‘Let’s Talk Bharat’.

“All these years, we’ve somehow been wearing a Western cloak […] pretending to be something we are not,” Mittal, the founder of India’s oldest matchmaking website shaadi.com, told the show’s host, actor Anupam Kher. 

According to Mittal, Indians are now respected more as they have started “owning up” and embracing who they are. “I think [it is because] finally, people are proud to be Indians. Whether it’s your passport ranking, whether it is your diplomatic relationships, whether it is soft power.”

India’s current leadership has played a role in this shift of attitudes, the businessman believes. After gaining independence from the United Kingdom in 1947, India was rather “confused,” said Mittal. “I think this is the first time in our history that we have clarity and vision in terms of what we want to achieve.”

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Ambarish Kenghe, VP Google pay at Google for India in Delhi, on 19th October 2023.
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Economic success is another factor that has driven the transformation in India, noted Mittal. “As soon as you become a market that people want to be in, as opposed to a land of snake charmers and elephants, everybody now suddenly wants a piece of us,” he said. 

Mittal founded shaadi.com, which has around 35 million users globally, in 1997. The company is based in Mumbai, with offices in Delhi, Chennai, Indore, Kolkata, Bengaluru, Dubai, London and New York. The entrepreneur himself is believed to be worth at least $22 million. Mittal has become popular as a judge in the reality television show Shark Tank India, where entrepreneurs pitch their business models to a panel of investors.

The businessman was in the news recently for going against Google, which had taken down a dozen poplar Indian services, including shaadi.com, from its Play Store for failing to pay fees. 

The services were restored days later, following the intervention of Indian Communications and IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw. Google’s move came amid a long-standing dispute over a fee it imposes on in-app payments.

Speaking to RT, Mittal slammed Google, alleging that the company is attempting to create a “monopoly” and demanding 15-30% of the revenue earned by apps in the store. According to the businessman, governments, particularly in the West, haven’t taken timely action against such policies, which are detrimental “because ultimately entrepreneurship suffers, innovation suffers, customers suffer because they have less choice.”

READ MORE: India’s Modi warns Bill Gates about dangers of AI

Mittal, at the same time, lauded his country’s government, particularly the Competition Commission of India (CCI), for issuing “a very strong order” to the US tech giant. “Google is simply not implementing it, using tricks of the trade, which they’ve learned globally, and trying to squirm out of it. And that’s why I said that they will end up paying a very heavy penalty. It will end badly for them, because they’re playing with the law. And today’s government doesn’t take that lightly,” the entrepreneur warned. 

‘Let’s Talk Bharat’ is a new RT show which seeks to unpack the complexities behind the emergence of India as an economic powerhouse and a voice for the Global South. The 30-minute show airs globally every Monday.

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April 10, 2024 at 05:20PM

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