Any guesses which country would win hands-down if an Asian Games for innovation in technology were to be held? No, Japan won’t. Neither will China.
If the 2010 Red Herring Asia Awards is any indicator, India would score a towering victory, with China coming a distant second. Of the 210 companies from the Asia Pacific region that made it to the finalists list, 76 were from India. And of the 101 eventual winners announced, a whopping 38 were from India, with at least 10 of them coming from one city — Bengaluru. China came second with 17 winners, followed by Singapore with 10 and Japan with nine. Australia had three winners.
Indeed, while India is at the forefront of innovation, Bengaluru is the hub that breeds…rather breathes…innovation and entrepreneurship. Clearly, the city didn’t get complacent after winning the accolades for being home to the IT outsourcing giants such as Infosys and Wipro. It has gone on to become home to companies such as Notion Ink, which has dared to challenge the mightiest of the mighty — Apple Inc., no less – in tablet computers.
Notion Ink’s Adam tablet device has won accolades from tech pundits worldwide and is being touted as the iPad-killer. So much so that when it opened up the Adam for pre-orders, they were sold out within the week – and that despite no one having seen the device yet, and despite much controversy and criticism of the young company for bungling the whole pre-order process.
Then, there is Hidden Reflex, which launched the highly versatile Epic web browser, with a rich array of features that few other browsers can boast of. Not only does it support multiple Indian and a few international languages, it also excels as a social networking browser, with built-in support for Facebook and Twitter.
Yet another name that comes to mind is AllGo Embedded Systems, which has produced a reference design for a device similar to the $35 PC prototype that HRD minister Kapil Sibal touted to the world a few months ago.
For the spirit of innovation to be sustainable, companies must earn revenues and profits, too, not merely accolades. It is good to note that 60 Indian companies have featured in the Deloitte Technology Fast500 Asia Pacific 2010 list. But there may be a need to accelerate on this front. After all, in 2009, there had been 71 Indian companies on the list.
(As published in Deccan Chronicle, December 31, 2010.)

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