Dragon can learn a few lessons from the elephant

08:22, June 04, 2010      

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Indian gurus commanded high respect in China - when the country was learning Buddhism more than 1,500 years ago.

But do the Chinese still have anything to learn from their old shifu (Chinese for master) when it comes to building a modern economy?

Pan Song says "Yes". Having had long-time work experience in India, Pan, himself a Chinese businessman, published his book about Indian economy and management entitled What Can China Learn From India - the Rising of Indian Superstar Private Enterprises and Its Inspiration?

The book was released on Thursday by the Beijing-based China Machine Press.

This is the first Chinese book entirely devoted to the managerial practice and operational experience in India since the beginning of China's start of market-oriented reform in 1978.

"China always keeps its eyes on catching up with the US, UK and Japan. But it has yet to realize that its Asian neighbor India, whose year-on-year economic growth has averaged 8-9 percent in the last decade, is actually becoming China's largest competitor," said Pan, the regional director of a Chinese company who has worked in key Indian cities like New Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, and Hyderabad for more than a decade.

The two countries are growth leaders in today's world and have much to learn from each other, he said.

"The core advantage of India is its private enterprises, which contributed more than 85 percent to the economy," he said in an interview with China Daily at the book launch ceremony on Thursday.

"India currently has 33 world-class private enterprises. Their astounding performance is the best lesson for Chinese enterprises."

According to Pan, Chinese enterprises should learn from their Indian counterparts' innovative spirit, experience in global operations, skills in mergers and acquisitions, and the unique way of training managerial elites in the era of globalization.

Since the process of economic liberalization began in 1991, the leaders of India's private businesses have articulated inspiring visions and mobilized their enterprises to achieve internationalization.

Pan focuses on three Indian sectors that have made great progress in the last two decades, namely, information technology, the pharmaceutical industry and financial services.

He also points out success stories in each of the sectors that Chinese companies can learn from. Infosys, which started with only $250, has now become the so-called Indian Microsoft, while Ranbaxy is the first Indian multinational pharmaceutical company. ICICI Bank is the largest private bank in India with the largest market value.

With strong support from the government and banks, an increasing number of Chinese enterprises are looking beyond their horizon to invest. Soon many of them could join the "going global" race, but they still lack experience in internationalizing operations and management. "That's why we should learn from Indian private enterprises, as they did a commendable job in the journey of internationalization," he said.

At the beginning of this year, The Times of India published the Top 8 assumptions for 2020 and said the top assumption is that India will surpass China as the fastest-growing economy. India's newly-appointed Chief Economic Adviser Kaushik Basu expects the country to possibly surpass China's growth rate in four to five years.

"China must have a sense of urgency as well as a sense of crisis from today and Chinese enterprises must try their best to learn as much as possible from the experiences of their Indian counterparts," said Pan.

Ramakrishna Velamuri, an associate professor at the China Europe International Business School, said the new book is "very timely", and "imperative for policymakers, businessmen and the general public of both China and India to have a deeper understanding of each other."

Source: China Daily


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