As Tech Mahindra unveiled it plans to team up with the Indian government to form “the country’s first blockchain district,” the multinational also announced its intention to compete with China and Korea in this rapidly expanding sector.
“Tech Mahindra is going to spend a lot of its energy and time on skill development [for blockchain]” company CEO C.P. Gurnani told Live Mint. “We don’t have an India-based platform for blockchain. China has Neo. Korea has its own. Why would not we have our own?” said Gurnani, adding that the company is on target to bring in over $100 million in blockchain-based revenue during the current financial year.
The CEO also told Live Mint that Tech Mahindra expects to launch around five Indian 5G pilot projects “in the coming weeks” and says it plans to start introducing the new generation network into Indian cities by 2020. The South Asian nation has traditionally been slower than South Korea, Japan and China in introducing new technology – all three countries say they will have rolled out nationwide 5G services within the next two years – and this “blockchain district” initiative can be seen as another attempt to ensure the country stays abreast of its neighbours at a time when Chinese companies like Alibaba, Tencent and Xiaomi are not just well-advanced in building their own “tech cities” but are also starting to dominate India’s telecommunications and digital landscape.
The new blockchain district will be built in the southern city of Hyderabad, where Tech Marinda already has a large R&D team based in a technology-focused “Special Economic Zone”. The local Telangana State Government will have overall responsibility for building the district’s infrastructure and will also provide ongoing national and international policy and regulatory support for blockchain startups based there. Tech Mahindra, which will provide overall technological support to the district, is also developing a tailor-made blockchain platform to be used by the start-ups that base themselves there.
This is not Tech Mahindra’s first blockchain-based “centre.” In March, the company said it will invest $100 million over the next five years in a Canadian high-tech district. This “Centre of Excellence”, that will be for emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence and blockchain and will forge links between Indian and Canadian academic institutes and startups, was announced after Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau visited India in February.