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India scores support of Silicon Valley giants

Posted: 28 Sep 2015 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Powerwall? Silicon Valley? start-up? Digital India? Make in India?

U.S. tech giants have committed to participate in Digital India and Smart Cities projects after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Silicon Valley on Saturday, The Hindu Business Line reported.

Digital India and Smart Cities, along with Make in India, are initiatives of the Modi administration to boost the electronics industry, as well as attract investors to set up their manufacturing facilities and R&D hubs in the country.

Chipmaker Qualcomm, through its investment arm Qualcomm Ventures, will invest up to $150 million (about Rs. 980 crore) for technology start-ups through an India-specific fund called Strategic Venture Fund.

The company said the fund would endow financial, marketing, technology and business support for start-ups that would contribute to the mobile and Internet of Everything (IoE) ecosystem.

Qualcomm Ventures has been investing in Indian start-ups since 2007 and has more than 20 Indian companies as part of its portfolio.

Social media giant Facebook has initiated a project that would provide Wi-Fi hotspots to those living in India's rural parts. Google, on the other hand, will connect 500 railway stations to Wi-Fi Internet.

Microsoft, for its part, will help the government bring low-cost broadband to five lakh villages. The U.S. tech giant will also make India its cloud services hub through data centres in the country.

"We believe low-cost broadband connectivity coupled with the scale of cloud computing and the intelligence that can be harnessed from data can help drive creativity, efficiency and productivity across governments and businesses of all size. This, is turn, will create global opportunities for India," Business Line quoted Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella as saying.

Modi also met with Tesla founder Elon Musk to discuss the possibility of utilising the company's Powerwall, a lithium-ion battery that recharges using electricity that solar panels generate, for India. With this device, Modi hopes to achieve his government's plan of adding 100,000MW of solar power by 2022 with 40,000MW each from rooftop and distributed generation projects.

Apart from Musk, Modi did not pass the chance to meet Apple CEO Tim Cook. The Indian leader invited Apple to build a manufacturing base in the country and discussed ways to use Apple Pay for Jan Dhan Yojna, a national mission for financial inclusion to ensure access to financial services.

According to Vikas Swarup, Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson, "Cook responded positively," adding that the Apple CEO was particularly interested in the App development economy.

- Stephen Padilla

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