Home > Global Matters, India, Venture Capital / Private Equity > Objects in mirror are closer than they appear

Objects in mirror are closer than they appear

November 22, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

I happened to attend an interesting seminar on scaling local businesses into global successes organized by TiE Mumbai this week.  The session was led by Martin Haemmig of Stanford’s Graduate School of Business.  The professor has spent a lot of time in China and is now in India trying to indulge in fundamental research on entrepreneurship and venture capital investments in India.

Many visitors to India have pointed out to me, with Martin being the latest, that Indians seem obsessed with China.  Hardly a business plan or news article focused on growth is discussed in India without comparing the subject to similar situations in China.   Local news media dedicate a lot of bandwidth to talking about political, territorial and commercial insecurities infesting  Sino-Indian ties.   And yet — the Chinese do not talk too much about India, not in the same vein anyway.  They do not seem to bother with justifying their existence in the context of the aspirations of their southern neighbor, except to the extent that India is a large growing market for Chinese goods .

Personally, I am not surprised by this phenomenon.  The Chinese are singularly obsessed with the US and perhaps to a lesser extent, other leading OECD countries.   It is but human nature to be focused on the tail-lights in front of you rather than worrying about headlights in your mirrors.    Much like racecar drivers each of India and China is trying to make the most of the course to inch closer to or past the car in front.    India will be talking a lot about China for several years to come.   And if they get close enough, the Chinese will notice.

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  1. David Belchick
    November 24, 2009 at 12:24 am

    Hi Shyam,

    Funny. In my provincial part of the planet, you could substitute “Red Sox” for “India” and “Yankees” for “China” and have the same discussion. On a more broader scale, I would be curious to see if this leads to a greater discussion about “focusing on ourselves” in India, since that is the only thing that can be controlled. If you can’t focus on yoursefl, you will spend too much time chasing fireflies. Sadly, to use my baseball anaology, the losers in all of this are the countries who are the equivalent of the Kansas City Royals. for the Royals, your only hope is to move a larger market or to a city that is offering you a better stadium deal-although the a developing country equivalent of the Roayls can’t move easily…

    Or, maybe the race with China will start radical, off-the-wall discussions like reintegrating the entire sub-continent to compete with China. I know that will never happen for any number of radical reasons, but, if you can’t catch your competitor in business, you have to find other ways to win like an unexpected M&A deal. However, I’ve now given away the plot to one of my book ideas. Since I have not had time to do anything lately, let alone consider writing, it might be a pipe dream. I even had the title picked out, “The Last Viceroy”.

    Thanks for keeping me informed.

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