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Flipkart’s Sachin Bansal on protectionism: “It shouldn’t just be about dollars, it should be about technology”

Flipkart co-founder and former CEO Sachin Bansal probably came to IAMAI's India Digital Summit knowing that he would be asked about his (and Ola founder Bhavish Agarwal's) remarks seeking protectionism for Indian companies at the Carnegie India’s Global Technology Summit last year. Bansal had said then: "I think what we need to do is what at some level China did: [tell foreign players that] we need your capital, but we don’t need your companies"..."Take the example of Brexit and (Donald) Trump… Jobs for Indians in places like the US and EU will come down and we need to be prepared for such a situation… We shouldn’t fashion a policy to be ideal according to what the West thinks. We should try and adopt a locally relevant standard". Agarwal, had been more forthright, saying "“China rightly identified consumer internet as important and moved to protect it, and we need to do the same in India”... “China has usually followed the route of using foreign capital and expertise to come up with domestic companies, without letting foreign companies themselves come in." (source: Quartz) Even though Flipkart is a Singapore registered company, majority owned by non-Indian Venture Capitalists, and merely operates in India with Indian employees and management, it is still seen as an Indian company because the founders are Indian. Statements from Bansal and Agarwal have been supported by venture capitalists looking to protect their investments: Tarun Davda, whose fund Matrix Partners is an investor in Ola (read), and Kalari Capital's Vani…

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Written By

Founder @ MediaNama. TED Fellow. Asia21 Fellow @ Asia Society. Co-founder SaveTheInternet.in and Internet Freedom Foundation. Advisory board @ CyberBRICS

MediaNama’s mission is to help build a digital ecosystem which is open, fair, global and competitive.

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