can all US business models work in India?

Often times markets across the world mature or adopt new products/services chronologically. In the past two decades, I’ve observed that things/products that are trends in Japan have become trends in the US after six months and things that have been trends in the US have become trends in India after years. With technological advance, free information and access to resources, the time taken for a trend to migrate from one market to another is constantly shrinking.

In the past several years since I’ve been in the US, I’ve pondered and even attempted to just copy successful business models of the US in India, but nothing substantial materialized as I stayed in the US and the business plans ended up remaining mere bytes on my external hard disk. For most of the business models, the entrepreneur need to be physically present in India (or whatever the target market is..)

The thought crossed my mind, when an enterprising student from Stanford, Rahul Thathoo sent me a note earlier today. He’s working to create a community-based classified service – rakoFi (similar to craigslist) for key Indian markets, alon with his entrepreneurial friends.

We’ve seen several successful attempts, where an entrepreneur has copied a successful business model in one part of the world and has implemented it successfully in another market. Most notably, we’ve Baazi (an online auction service focused on the Indian market – India’s eBay) was in fact acquired by eBay itself. Besides e-commerce, successful implementations of proven business models have created significant value to the society and economy. For instance, Air Deccan (India’s "no frills") airlines could have been inspired from Southwest. Kingfisher airlines could very well have been inspired from Virgin Atlantic.

Another successful business idea that comes to mind is Raghav Kher’s SeventyMM, which aims to provide DVD rentals for the Indian market (India’s Netflix)

A quick disclaimer – my intent is not to undermine the innovation of these successful businesses, but to point the reader’s attention towards trends.

What other similar "inspired" businesses do yo know of?

-Kintan

Technorati tags: business model , rakofi , India , entrepreneur , Kingfisher airlines , Netflix , seventymm

3 thoughts on “can all US business models work in India?

  1. The current wave of coffee lounges like Cafe Coffee Day, Barista look pretty inspired by chains like StarBucks in here. Also, the idea of multiplexes and shopping malls was certainly not hatched in India. As lifestyles change, preferences for these services is increasing. Not only that, departmental stores and chain grocery stores are actually replacing smaller, one-person friendly-neighbourhood marts in India. I am finding it amusing that certain markets are so much more adaptable than others.

  2. I think the essential question is can one do it successfully sitting here in US. I have no experience or knowledge to back this but i could make a guess…
    I think the answer would depend entirely on the kind of business model. A model that
    1. relies totally on a website as the vehicle of delivery and web based marketing
    2. is relatively smaller in scale to manage despite some level of “barrier to entry”
    3. has good potential of getting acquired
    may have a good chance. However anything that would require tight partnerships in India would be difficult to execute sitting here in US.

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