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What China can learn from India

Last updated on: June 4, 2010 16:44 IST

Image: Visitors queue to enter the India Pavilion at the Shanghai World Expo site.
Photographs: Reuters. K J M Varma in Beijing

As the world's largest growing economy that has set its eyes on catching up with the United States and Japan, has China got a lesson or two to learn from its Asian neighbour and old-time 'guru' India in building a modern economy?

A new book written by a veteran Chinese entrepreneur, who has spent years on job in Indian cities, says it might be the case.

Pan Song, author of 'What Can China Learn From India..', says India may surpass its neighbour as the fastest growing country in the near future, and it is time the dragon recognises the elephant as a competitor and learns from the old "shifu" (master) a lesson or two.

"China always keeps its eyes on catching up with the US, UK and Japan. But it has yet to realise that its Asian neighbour India, whose year-on-year economic growth has averaged 8-9 per cent in the last decade, is actually becoming China's largest competitor," said Pan Song.

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What China can learn from India

Image: India's growth rate to zoom.
Photographs: Reuters

"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," he said, citing recent studies that projected the likelihood of India's growth rate surpassing China's by 2020.

Pan, who worked as the regional director of a Chinese company in Indian cities like New Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, and Hyderabad for more than a decade compiled his experience in his book making a strong case that "astounding" performances being posted by Indian private sector offered greater lessons for China.


What China can learn from India

Image: Employees at an IT company in Bangalore.
Photographs: Reuters.

The book launched in Beijing on Thursday is the first Chinese book entirely devoted to the managerial practice and operational experience in India.

"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 term for master) when it comes to building a modern economy? Pan Song says Yes," a feature in the state run China Daily on his book said.

The core advantage of India are its private enterprises, which contributed over 85 per cent to the economy. India currently has 33 world-class private enterprises, it said.

"Their astounding performance is the best lesson for Chinese enterprises," he said in an interview with the China Daily.


What China can learn from India

Image: India, a success story.
Photographs: Reuters.

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 globalisation.

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

Pan focuses on three Indian sectors that have made great progress in the last two decades -- IT, pharmaceutical industry and financial services. He also points out success stories in each of the sectors that Chinese companies can learn from.


What China can learn from India

Image: Infosys, Bangalore.
Photographs: Reuters.

Infosys, which started with only $250, has now become the so-called Indian Microsoft, while Ranbaxy is the first Indian multinational pharmaceutical company, it cites. It also cites the example of ICICI Bank which 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.


What China can learn from India

Image: Bright prospects for India.
Photographs: Reuters.

"That's why we should learn from Indian private enterprises, as they did a commendable job in the journey of internationalisation," he said.

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," the Daily said.