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Zoho’s Sridhar Vembu calls for India to demand “technology transfer” from China

Sridhar Vembu, the CEO of one of the largest bootstrapped startups in India, Zoho has called for Indian policy to be changed to demand technology transfers from China when their companies try to access Indian markets.

Vembu was reacting to a Bloomberg article on the potential creation of a Chinese battery manufacturing plant in America. The article cited an American trade group that said they would have no objection to this factory “as long as the company brings battery manufacturing technology and know-how to the U.S., not just low wage assembly jobs.”

While another commentator talked about the surprise of seeing America asking for Chinese technology, Vembu pinpointed what Indian policy makers could learn from the situation.

“Americans are doing the right thing demanding technology transfer along with investment and market access. That must be Indian policy too,” said Vembu.

In recent years, India’s stance on Chinese-backed technology has often been seen as a public admonishment of Beijing’s influence leading to app bans. In February, the Indian government banned 54 mobile applications with significant Chinese investment citing national security.

Included in this list was the popular Garena Free Fira gaming app. Created by Singapore based technology group Sea Limited, the ban caused a major public valuation crash for the company. Sea’s share price on the New York Stock Exchange tanked due to the ban, erasing over $16 billion in value in a single day’s trading.

Earlier this week, Sea Ltd. announced that they would be ceasing all operations for the ecommerce platform Shopee, which they were operating in India. Sea Ltd. had only begun Indian operations six months prior, in October 2021.

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