US election 2016: Donald Trump's win means good news for Indian tech industry
US President-elect Donald Trump will bring a practical flavour to grow business ties with India
The US citizen's mandate electing Donald Trump as the new US President is truly a landmark win for the Republican Party and ushers in new era of dynamics for the world’s largest economy.
However, some reports have highlighted uncertainty around foreign and business policy changes with Donald Trump especially since his US presidential campaign focused a lot on winning back the “American dream and pride”. Reports have also highlighted how Trump has proposed to renegotiate multinational treaties like the North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement (Nafta) and has criticised countries like China and India for taking away US jobs. His promise to come down hard on immigration could have a bearing on Indian students and IT workers looking for jobs in the US.
However, given what we have seen so far, in my view, Trump will bring a practical flavour to grow business ties with India. This would be a huge positive for the Indian technology industry. With the recent regulatory challenges that the US technology companies have faced in China, India automatically becomes the most preferred partner to grow the business as well as harness the new frontiers of technology.
The Indian tech industry is clearly witnessing a shift in business dynamics with emerging areas like cloud, social media, big data, analytics, artificial intelligence and overall digital wave. While significant part of the business continues to come from US markets in terms of technology services and outsourcing, there has also been significant inbound investments in US tech majors and corporate companies in India to seize the power of the Indian knowledge workforce, and companies like Microsoft, Amazon, GE, Google, Uber, etc, have a significant presence in India.
In summary, the business partnership between US and India possibly is at its best times given the huge technology opportunity in front of the world.
In my view, the industry will closely watch as to how Donald Trump steers the US Immigration Bill in terms of costs, free movement of skilled Indian workforce to the US, and limitations on the number of people that can work in the US. Indian technology industry has a significant presence in the US and continues to have Indian skill-force working for US clients through the H1-B visa regulations. Any downside changes in the US Immigration Bill would clearly have a negative impact on Indian technology companies.
Another aspect that needs to be seen is how will the Indian currency move. The overall balance of trade between India and the US will also play a key role. The currency factor is important for Indian technology companies given their dependency on export earnings. In my view, Donald Trump would mean good for business but one would need to carefully wait and watch how the policies play out especially on immigration, trade agreements with various countries and his engagement with Indian polity and businesses.
The strength and robustness of the Indian technology industry would be strong grounds for the US to continue to partner in areas of global innovation and technology. However, Indian technology companies would need to accelerate their adoption of newer technologies and shift gears on areas of artificial intelligence, cloud, etc, and leverage this opportunity to foster even closer ties with the US in the area of technology.
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