Businessworld, 03 Dec 2011
The next 50 years will be defined by two important trends - both favouring India. The world's population is about 7 billion, of which 5 billion are poor. Companies typically target the 2 billion rich. Over the next 50 years, the projection is that we will have 12 billion people, of which 10 billion will be poor. So, the biggest opportunity for corporations is to convert the poor into a consuming base, so that they become an even bigger opportunity over the next 50 years.
However, you need innovation to serve the poor. I recently wrote a piece on a $300 house for the poor. Once you construct a home, it becomes a reservoir for other products. Apple, for instance, does not sell a single iPhone to the poor. If you could make an iPhone for $5, there is a $25-billion market. Even for a giant like Apple, that's a big revenue opportunity.
The second big trend is sustainability. This planet cannot be sustained if the 5-billion poor turn into consumers...