The Indian Tech of the Decade

A sign for the PayTM online payment method, operated by One97 Communications Ltd., is displayed next to bags of spices at a wholesale market in Delhi, India, on Friday, Nov. 25, 2016. (Anindito Mukherjee/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Walk around the streets of Alwarpet in Chennai or Basavanagudi in Bengaluru — the food carts and the fruit sellers will likely accept digital payments. Be it in the bungalows of South Delhi or the shanties in Dharavi, you can't miss that people have smartphones and high-speed internet. Some are on TikTok, others on Twitter.

At kiranas, the local grocery stores found at every street corner in India, many retailers have stopped going to the market to buy goods. Instead, they order supplies wholesale and get it delivered at the shop. In urban areas, millions of young workers order food on apps and impatiently check for real-time updates until their food, likely made in a cloud kitchen, appears at their doors. Entrepreneurship is in. Being a YouTuber or TikToker isn’t such a bad career choice. 

In just one decade, India now has more internet users than the United States. Indian internet penetration was 7.5% in 2010 — only 92 million of India’s then 1.2 billion people were online. By March 31, 2019, the Internet and Mobile Association of India, along with Nielsen, reported that there were 451 million monthly active internet users in India, a penetration of 34%. Smartphone shipments rose from around 8 million in 2010 to 124 million in 2017. In the third quarter of 2019, over