Zoho founder Sridhar Vembu
Zoho founder Sridhar Vembu

R&D culture key to create global brands like Apple, Google: Zoho

For India to build such companies, Indian private sector must invest in R&D heavily, he said, reinforcing the fact that there existed “no other way.”

CHENNAI: Zoho founder Sridhar Vembu on Thursday took to Twitter to voice out his views on India’s ability to produce globally-competitive companies like Apple, Google, Pfizer, Samsung, Honda, Boeing, Siemens, TSMC or Huawei.

“Why are these companies so important to their host nations? Is India on a path to producing these companies?” he asked.

Noting that these companies were extremely important to their host nations because they embody within themselves the advanced know-how and R&D capabilities essential for modern life and nationhood, Vembu said “most critical R&D happens within such companies. These companies enjoy a disproportionate share of economic value added as well as profits (compared to their direct effect on employment) and also pay heavy taxes to their host nations both through their well-compensated employees and directly as corporations. That’s the why.”

For India to build such companies, Indian private sector must invest in R&D heavily, he said, reinforcing the fact that there existed “no other way.”

To elaborate his point, Vembu said “the government should incentivise and persuade companies to invest in R&D. Industrial R&D is not the same as academic research. The return on private sector R&D investment is enormous. Those aggregated returns from the private sector are what show up as high GDP growth and high GDP per capita. If we want a $30 trillion economy, we must invest heavily in private sector R&D. One point program!”

But what about the skilled people to staff private sector R&D? “If we build it, they will come… when the private sector invests in R&D and signals its deep commitment, talented people stay home. Companies also find ways to create and nurture talent as Zoho as done,” he said.

Last but not the least, the leader went on to present the current status of the country. “Finally, is India on a path to producing such companies? On present trajectory, no. Indian private sector is not investing sufficiently in R&D. We have not created the culture and mental habits of being R&D driven companies. We must build the culture first,” Vembu tweeted.

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