Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

As Western tech companies compete for shares of India's increasingly crowded market, they're confronting the challenges of a customer base largely dependent on cash payment and mobile internet access.

The big picture: Internet user growth is slowing down worldwide, but it's booming in India, the world's second largest market that's often referred to as "the next billion" internet users.

The numbers that matter:

What's happening: Western tech giants, facing a consumer population with purchasing and phone usage habits substantially different from those of their existing customers, are revising their approaches, offerings and platforms to emulate local tech companies.

What to watch: India's push for a “cash-lite economy" has met with mixed results. If customers in India do shift toward online transactions, it could ease the path forward for Western companies.

  • Investors from China, frustrated by their own oversaturated market and the intensifying trade war with the U.S., are also making massive investments in India’s budding digital payments sector.

Girish Mathrubootham is the co-founder and CEO of Freshworks, which develops customer management and support software, and an active angel investor in India.

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