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Thursday, December 09, 2004

Links to Speeches and thoughts on India, China, and outsourcing

Category: Misc

Speeches, thoughts on India, China, infrastructure development, and outsourcing.

I read some interesting speeches this evening.

Jeff Immelt's speech to the class of 2004 at Dartmouth
This is the way to search,
Jeff Immelt Dartmouth speech site:www.ge.com filetype:pdf (pdf)

Jeff Immelt's speech as a Hatfield lecturer - Cornell April. 2004. (pdf)
Thanks for the link, KK.

An interesting point from this speech, "If you're in your twenties, and you're going to work for the next 40 years of your life, it is imperative for you to learn about China, because during your life as professional, China will be one of the, if not the leading economies of the world."
This is where the newly launched search engine Accoona may come into play, as they have a Chinese backing, and to do business in China, one needs information about China.

Other interesting points.

- China is going to invest $300 billion on infrastructure development in the next decade.
- At present, there are 25 new airports under construction in China.

Another point, read is somewhere
- China has an ambitious program to teach English to school students.
(From an Indian business perspective, this is worrying and our politicians cannot think of a long-term education policy).

The moment Chinese learn to say, "Good evening, Thank you for calling XYZee, this is John Davis from the customer service department, how may I help you today?", and "Is there any thing else I may help you with regarding your question. Thank you for calling XYZee. Have a nice evening.", in perfect English, most of India's ITES, BPO, call center and related jobs would move to China. And, the way China achieves its objectives, their plans of total English literacy for school students by the year 2010, if I'm not mistaken, would be a reality.

It is a question of maximizing the benefit for a company, and increasing shareholder value, and if American companies think that China would be a more valuable destination to outsource their call centers and back-end work, they won't hesitate to do that.

India is nowhere in infrastructure development as compared to China.
(Note to myself: I'm going to read about Shanghai this weekend).
To research and read on this.

Our infrastructure needs rapid and massive development. And, if we don't do that, inspite of all the rosy pictures shown by international consultants, graduates in 2015 may just end up selling MNC credit cards, with no calls to take, no American queries on credit cards to answer, and no test plans to make for web site tracking softwares.

We've to understand, or let me write this from a personal standpoint, I've to understand that all the pizzas that I'm eating, the beer that I'm drinking, the malls I'm shopping in, the coffee shops I'm visiting, the shopping I'm splurging on, and above all the money that I'm making is because America outsources its work to India, whether in software application development, or online research, or call centers, or back-end data processing, or network management. And, once they find a better, cheaper, less bureaucratic, and easy to tap alternative, they won't hesitate to go there. Like, GE did with their call center operations in India, wherein they've divested a part of their stake.

Not one city in India can be compared to Shanghai. It will take years for India to reach somewhere near Shanghai.

Our politicians talk of making Bombay the Shanghai of India, and each day millions of people commute to work in overcrowded local trains that are packed to 400% of its original capacity. (To really understand this sentence, try commuting from Churchgate to Borivali at 6:30 pm on a weekday, to understand why Bombay is unique. One day in Bombay teaches you about life more than an entire lifetime spent in your city, village, or small town, and that's true even for people from metros like Delhi and Kolkata).

Pune, or Bombay (even with so many flyovers), or for that matter, all our cities need massive infrastructure development, or else with us being so complacent, in a matter of a decade and a half, China will overtake India even in the services industry.

China is the manufacturing playground of the world, and what better example than, India's biggest festival, Diwali, providing an opportunity for China to market itself, right from the earthen lamps, to the lanterns, to electric lighting, to toy guns, to small boxes, to pocket radios, and 'n' number of other things, all with the 'Made in China' tag.

China plays on volume. Make ten million pieces and sell each at 90% less than what India sells at, and I'm not an expert to understand how they are able to sustain this play on volume.

An example would be the electronic components industry, which is sort of dormant in India. No one needs to buy from India, most of the manufacturers in India itself buy from China or Taiwan. A capacitor would sell for Rs.5/- per piece, and a Chinese made one, even with the taxation and duties would sell at Rs. 2/- per piece. This is the kind of cost benefit advantage China has over India, and that is because there is no Unionism and a there is a communist government that gets work done.

Some more speeches that I read.

Subroto Bagchi's speech to the class of 2004-06 at IIM, Bangalore.
Inspiring, giving the message of optimism, fairplay, respect for elders, and values.
This will take 15 minutes of your time, but it is worth reading.

A debatable point...
Here, I feel our value system binds us together and at the same time prevents our thinking too.
We cannot think out of the box because we've been told that elders are always right and in that context we take that to work too, and the managers and clients are always right, the boss is always right, which doesn't encourage constructive dissent.

Alex Stepanov's speech to Adobe India programmers in Nov. 2004.
(Got this as an email forward).

Points worth noting.

- Never miss an opportunity to learn
- Follow your values
- What's in the mind is what matters the most, and not what's in the pocket.

So these were some thoughts on India and China.
This would be one interesting presentation.
Where is India vis-a-vis China?
I'll find some time and do research on this, and maybe put a powerpoint presentation online.

Bye for now.