Facebook to ride Digital India waves: India MD-designate Umang Bedi

  • Anirban Ghoshal, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Jun 08, 2016 10:38 IST
Bedi, who was the managing director at Adobe for South Asia, will soon take up the charge of Facebook’s India business and will lead in building and maintaining strategic relationships with top clients and regional agencies in the country.

Facebook India’s managing director designate Umang Bedi on Tuesday said that the next growth of the Mark Zuckerberg-founded company is expected to come from the growing digital revolution in the country boosted by government initiatives like Digital India.

“The digital ecosystem in India is going through a boom and we can see how brick and mortal systems are moving online to capture more growth. Even advertisements are moving to the digital space which previously laid a lot of emphasis on Television,” Bedi told Hindustan Times saying that he was analysing the market from an Adobe perspective.

Bedi’s comments assumes significance as Facebook has said that it works with more than 85% of the top 100 advertisers in India identified by Kantar. 100% of those advertisers use video within their Facebook campaigns in India. Kantar is a market research agency that is also part of the WPP media group.

Also, Bedi’s stint at Adobe saw its digital business grow. The company also partnered with e-commerce, travel and banking clients like Flipkart,IndiGo, Jabong and Makemytrip.com for the same with Bedi at the helm.

The Menlo Park-based social media giant had earlier in the day said that Bedi, who was the managing director at Adobe for South Asia, will soon take up the charge of Facebook’s India business and will lead in building and maintaining strategic relationships with top clients and regional agencies in the country.

“Umang comes to Facebook with close to two decades of leadership experience covering sales, marketing and partnerships where he successfully built teams and grew businesses for multinational companies. Prior to joining Facebook, Umang was the managing director of the South Asia region at Adobe. He was responsible for growing their business in India and helping India grow to amongst the leading markets for Adobe in the APAC and global regions,” the company statement read.

The Adobe top executive also said that Facebook has a lot of opportunity in India as nearly 1.05 billion Indians are still not connected to the Internet. Currently, India has 277 million internet users and 142 million Indians are on Facebook. The social networking site has 1.65 billion users globally.

Bedi, who said that he loves travelling and has been to over 50 countries, declined to comment on future strategies of Facebook India and said that he will only comment after joining the company in the first week of July. When asked about which Facebook product makes more sense at this time in the country, Bedi seemed to feign ignorance about the range of products Facebook has in India.

Interestingly, Bedi is also not very active on Facebook. His profile activity ranges from one to two posts a month but that can be attributed to his busy schedule at Adobe.

“I think virtual reality and augmented reality will play a big role in the country as they have been creating quite a buzz. We have added VR and AR tools in our Adobe content producing platforms to help users and creators make the most of these new formats,” the occasional golfer said when asked if 360-degree videos and virtual reality would be the next big thing on users’ timelines and Newsfeeds.

Bedi, who reiterated several times that he was speaking from the Adobe perspective, also declined to comment about Facebook’s low-cost internet connectivity solutions platform - Free Basics, which was shut down by the country’s regulatory authority after it faced public backlash in a debate over net neutrality.

After the announcement, Bedi took to Facebook to say that he was “really excited & energised that I’ll be joining Facebook where I will get the chance to work with some of the best talent across the industry! India at the moment is positioned at the cusp of exponential digital growth and I firmly believe that Facebook India can deliver effective outcomes for our customers and create value for businesses we partner with.”

“The opportunity to leverage India’s mobile & social waves and make a sustainable change in the way we connect online excites me and brings me to Facebook. This is going to be an exhilarating journey with many collaborators and I am looking forward to it!,” he wrote.

Kirthiga Reddy, who Bedi will replace, also congratulated him after the announcement on Facebook. “I’m excited about how well positioned our business in India is, to grow from strength to strength, and excited to continue to work with the world’s largest global advertisers with a focus on emerging markets in my new role at Facebook headquarters. It’s a privilege to be part of our mission to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected,” she wrote.

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