India is a test-bed to create tools, ideas for the world: Zuckerberg

Thomas K Thomas New Delhi | Updated on November 25, 2017

Mark Zuckerberg


Facebook founder unveils $1-m innovation challenge for app, website developers

For Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, India is more than just a big market. It is a test-bed where he hopes to develop tools and ideas that can be used by the world.

To make this happen, Zuckerberg announced a million-dollar fund to start an innovation challenge in India. The fund will be made available to developers of applications, websites and online services that improve the lives of women, students, farmers and migrant workers.

“Because India has embraced science, research and development, the benefits of bringing connectivity to India are going to be profound. When you bring the Internet to India, you are empowering people to build tools that can really benefit the world,” he said. Zuckerberg is also interested in driving other initiatives in India, including a scheme that will offer basic Internet services free of cost in collaboration with telecom operators and handset makers.

This will allow people to browse select health, employment and local information websites without data charges.

During his two-day visit, Zuckerberg will meet Sunil Mittal, Chairman of the Bharti Group and Rahul Sharma, founder of Micromax, to push this agenda. With 100 million users, India is now the second biggest market for Facebook after the US.

But lack of Internet connectivity across the country is a major concern for the company’s future growth. Zuckerberg said Facebook was experimenting with satellites and solar-powered drones to make cheaper Internet access available to countries such as India.

“If you can do it successfully in India then you can do it anywhere else,” he said.

Zuckerberg will also meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad to discuss how Facebook can help with the Digital India mission.

Facebook is also working with the Government on using its platform to spread awareness about the Clean India drive. “Facebook is the biggest Internet service worldwide and there are unique things where we can help out,” he said.

Published on October 09, 2014

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