Asian profile: Gurbaksh Chahal, serial internet entrepreneur
Gurbaksh Chahal, serial internet entrepreneur, was born in India but grew up in California. His parents seeing a better future, went to the USA in 1985 from India after receiving a visa in the state lottery. Chahal left high school at sixteen to set up an advertising company called Click Agents an internet advertising company. He sold it two years later for $40million and had since sold a further web optimization and behavioural targeting company to Yahoo (2007) for $300million. Chahal tells Citywealth Editor, Karen Jones about the astonishing internet wealth still to come from the USA.
“Countries like Canada and Singapore have approached me and asked me to invest in companies in their respective countries if they gave me $1million to play with. I like the idea but I don’t have enough time to do so. I think all the important internet companies are based in San Francisco like Facebook which many think has grown to have a potential valuation of ¬£35bn.”
“The market leaders on the internet are all USA companies but their income is now largely outside of the USA . Google has fifty percent of all its revenue from the rest of the world. The US has really become an internet launching pad.”
“Facebook has grown so much because new countries like Africa have signed up and increased its size exponentially. Internet companies are also getting better at understanding their audience. Google employ cultural anthropologists to collect data on economies and politics and how they affect different people and their use of the internet.”
The internet is still in its infancy
“Not all internet offerings work country to country. You have to change the focus of your service for different countries. It’s not one size fits all but the internet is still in its infancy and has a long way to go. The growth of technology is the future and anyone embracing that will be in charge of the future. Video will also be the next big thing.”
A big trend we’ve seen is the USA is top American Harvard graduates going straight to India for jobs. The opportunities are better there, something the USA government isn’t happy with. Personally I think there should be less government involvement in private business. The less the better.”
Chahal work ethos: Treat your staff like rock stars
“Working across cultures I find the British more methodical than the Americans but Americans are quicker at what they do. However any successful employer in either culture in a small or large company should believe in being good and treating staff like rock stars.”
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