Adani group, the behemoth of the power sector of the country is going to revolutionise another sector and may make big money in the process. In a massive push for data localisation, the Indian government has been asserting that global firms like Amazon and Google must store Indian data in India and not in other foreign countries like the USA and Adani plans capitalise on this development to enter the data firm business. Billionaire Gautam Adani’s conglomerate plans to sell data storage services to global firms like Google, Facebook and Amazon.
The company will build data parks in Southern states in India with an investment worth 700 billion rupees ($10.2 billion) in next two decades. The global IT firms bet big on rising Indian demands for smart phones and internet data, and given the firm stance of the government on data localisation, these giant firms will need data storage facilities in India if the government moves forward with the Personal Data Protection Bill. Indian business tycoon, Gautam Adani intends to capitalise on this opportunity.
According to Gautam Adani, the founder and chairman of the group, if India passes the data localisation law, “it will explode data storage requirements, and that will need capacity.” “This will be a multi-billion-dollar project that will bring in the Googles and the Amazons of the world,” said Adani in an interview in New Delhi.
The aggressive entry into data storage market by Adani group is line with group’s operating habit. The company always opts for ‘first mover’s advantage’ in the sectors prioritized by the government. The business giant adopted the same strategy in ports, special economic zones (SEZs) and many other businesses.
When the government announced that it will incentivise local defense manufacturing, Adani group moved aggressively to obtain defense contractors to sell military equipment supplies. Similar strategy was adopted for gas sector when the government pushed for use of LPG for cooking and transportation. The group’s aim has been to take first mover’s advantage. However, Adani likes to put it in different way, “Our main goal is nation building through infrastructure,” and added that “the Adani Group has always focused on businesses in line [with] the government’s vision.”
The data storage business also requires huge investment, highly regulated by the government, and is being prioritized by the government, like all the other sectors like ports, electricity and coal mining in which Adani group is active.
The government has drafted 2018 Personal Data Protection Bill for mandatory data storage in the country. The government is of the view that privacy of individuals must be maintained and their personal data must be stored locally. The Modi government has to face the ire of global corporations and foreign government including that of Trump administration on its stance of data localisation. However, in a stern commitment to national interest, Modi government has been very firm on data sovereignty and policymakers including former CEA Arvind Subramanian and industrialists like Mukesh Ambani have supported the stance of the government. “The concerns over data security is fueling the need for countries to demand localisation of data and India being a growing economy, I don’t expect global data giants like Google, Amazon or Alibaba to overlook this market,” said Apalak Ghosh, industry manager for digital transformation at Frost & Sullivan.
The massive investments by Adani group in data storage will provide necessary infrastructure for foreign multinationals to store the data of Indian users locally. The data localisation will be beneficial for the protection of privacy of individuals and maintaining India’s data sovereignty. Given the fact that data is being considered as the new oil, India’s capacity building in data storage is necessary and in national interest.