Will Coronavirus make India a tech superpower?

Lets hopes that the current Coronavirus scare blows over quickly with minimum casualties. Its impact on the global economy has to be analysed.

Sunil Rajguru
New Update
Will Coronavirus make India a tech superpower?

First of all, one hopes that the current Coronavirus scare blows over quickly with minimum casualties. Second of all, the Coronavirus epidemic should never have happened, but now that it has happened, it is a valid hypothesis that its impact on the global economy and indeed global history has to be analysed. However, our story does not begin with the Coronavirus.


Strike 1: A slowing economy and decline in domestic consumption

China switched from a Communist economy to a capitalist one in 1978 with spectacular results that made it a powerhouse right up to the 2010s. While everyone knows about that, another lasting impact was their strict One Child Policy in the very next year. While it was a spectacular success in the short run, in the long run, it resulted in a rapidly ageing population with not enough youngsters to replace the seniors. That’s not exactly good for the economy.

Strike 2: The Trump Trade War


While a lot of people blasted US President Donald Trump for starting a trade war with China, the truth is that in the last few years the US economy in the last few years has received a booster shot while it added to China’s above woes. It hit the tech companies really hard as both Apple and Alphabet had huge plans for China. Chinese companies would have become global leaders in the implementation of 5G, but this was a major setback. The biggest example is Huawei which is losing out on both the telecom equipment and mobile handset scene.

Strike 3: The Coronavirus epidemic

Make no mistake about it, China has been extremely unlucky about this epidemic. (Discounting all the conspiracy theories floating around) It has also reacted admirably, putting millions in quarantine, building hospitals and dealing with the outbreak with an iron hand. However, we live in an Information Era and most of the world suspects the information coming out of China due to censorship and a total lack of transparency.


In today’s global age where information is freely exchanged all over the world and where top executives criss-cross all over the world as if they are commuting, this is a huge blow to China’s place in the global village. While the Coronavirus phase will definitely be over, will China be able to overcome the information gap and gain the trust of the world?

In today’s ultra-competitive age, China’s sweat shops provide the cheapest tech products for giants like Apple now see a run from the factories. This will also bring production down and again, will China be able to recover, especially considering all of the above factors?

Is India now America’s main challenger?


Till the 1980s, the USSR was the main challenger to the US and then till the 2010s, it was China. Is it now India’s turn? Right now China has the highest number of a working-age population, but India could overtake them by 2030 thanks to China’s ageing population. As Trump’s recent India visit showed, he would rather engage with India rather than China. There could be a slow disengagement with China that could benefit India. India and the US could enter a new age of economic and technological co-operation at the cost of China.

While there was a brain drain from India to the US, there has been a bit of a reverse brain drain off late and one must say that the Indo-US technological two-way flow of information is better than the China-US one. While there have been murmurs of intellectual property theft when it comes to China and US companies giving up some of their patents on Chinese soil, that is not the case with India.

India is a flourishing democracy with organic growth and hence is far more stable than China. When it comes to technology, our Act I was becoming a service superpower. In Act II we are becoming an R&D powerhouse and tomorrow in Act III we could well become an outright tech superpower.

Tragedies in world history have a strange way of resulting in the unlikeliest of consequences and the China Coronavirus epidemic could well be one of them.

In fact you may remember that it was another tragedy or scare that led India on the path of becoming a tech power way back in the late 1990s: The Millennium Bug or the Y2K scare!