Google Inc , and Facebook Inc heads will be meeting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the weekend. This gives them a much needed chance to make their point on the issues troubling them in India.
India vital for Facebook, Google
India, with 1.3bn people, is a very important market for Facebook and Google. Since both the firms are blocked from China, so India, the second most-populous country, becomes critical for their growth. For Modi, this trip of to the Silicon Valley gives him a chance to gather support for his top policy initiatives such as ‘Digital India’ and ‘Make in India.’
Facebook and Google executives will be meeting Chinese President Xi Jingping in Seattle this week. But, citing sources, Reuters say that their meeting will not be ‘one on one.’ On the other hand, Modi will visit Google’s campus, and will hold a Town Hall session with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
Apart from the more specific issues, some of the general problems thwarting the growth of the US firms in India is poor electricity, slow internet and lack of skilled engineers.
Realizing the importance of Modi’s visit, Google CEO Sundar Pichai welcomed Modi to Silicon Valley via a YouTube video. In the video, the Indian-origin CEO says there is “tremendous excitement for your visit amongst all Googlers and the entire Indian community.”
Modi needs Silicon Valley
For Modi also these meeting will be very crucial as he is truly aware of the power of social media. He has over 30m ‘Likes’ on his Facebook page and has 15m Twitter followers, next only to the US President Barack Obama.
Both Facebook and Google have been expanding there presence in India, but Modi is expected to press for even more. Indian PM is likely to ask the US firms to set R&D centers in India, and hire more local Indians, says the report.
“(Modi’s) top programs … are based on the idea that international companies will invest money and bring in technological know-how to build out the infrastructure – digital and otherwise – that India needs,” president of the US-Indian Business Council, Mukesh Aghi told Reuters.
Modi is scheduled to visit Silicon Valley on 26 and 27 Sept. He will visit top tech firms and their executives including Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk. This meeting will also be very important for both the parties. Tesla may benefit by the addition of one more market while Modi could get help for India’s ambitious solar power generation program.
At around 10.30 am EDT, Google shares were down 1.17% at $645.64. Year to date, the stock is up almost 21% while in the last one-year, they are up 8%. Around the same time, Facebook shares are down 1.52% at $92.54. Year to date, the stock is up almost 17% while in the last one-year, they are up almost 18%.