Lou Zhongping, chairman of YiwuShuangtong Daily Necessities Co., Ltd, has recently returned to China after a trip to India. He has deep feelings for the trip, finishing four long travel notes and publishing them via the “Circle of Friends” on WeChat. In the notes, he sees India from the perspective of a common tourist, and as a Chinese entrepreneur.
In a recent interview with National Business Daily, Lou Zhongping introduces us to the conference of international quality standardization of straws, which he attended in India. Although he was fully prepared with necessary knowledge of India before the trip began, he soon found that “the real India” was so different from what he had expected.
Before he set off, he searched via internet and read many complaints filed by Chinese netizens. They invariably characterized India with such labels as power failure, water cutoff, serious air and water pollution, etc. Although he was ready to embrace the difficulties before he started out for India, he soon found the knowledge useless after reaching India.
Lou Zhongping was amazed with the high standard of the tertiary industry in India, which would overshadow that of China to some degree. In the airport of Delhi, some details of services were executed with such perfection, which you would never expect in Pudong Airport of Shanghai. Besides, the security systems of the hotels he lodged in were also reassuring.
“It’s easy for me to see the high standard of tourism in India. For some parts, the regulations and services are even better than those in China.” In the opinion of Lou Zhongping, India is a combination of very contradictory elements, like a melting pot. The city of Delhi, for example, embodies the modern and the underdeveloped at one time.
Lou Zhongping refuses to equate India with what was China like 20 years ago. After all, the life in India is also impacted by the omnipresent internet, and the consumption habits of the younger generation in India are also becoming “modernized”. But he also confesses that there is huge room for improvement in some places of India.
Low labor costs have become an evident advantage for India, but Lou Zhongping is not considering launching a factory in India, at least for now. “Some Chinese companies may become the front runners – only in certain industries. For labor-intensive companies like us, and especially of small and medium sizes, it is not yet a good time to develop and thrive in India.” Lou Zhongping believes that India’s “demographic bonus” would run on for a couple of years, as people under the age of 30 account for a large part of the entire population. Meanwhile, the inveterate caste system may become a major obstruction of India’s economic development and her attractiveness for foreign investments.
In the eyes of Lou Zhongping, domestic demand is huge in India, and infrastructure construction may become a major battleground for Chinese companies (especially telecommunication equipment manufacturers) to dominate. It is of strategic significance, judging from the perspective of further development.
Sun Jianqiang, an entrepreneur from Zhejiang who established his name by setting up a platform that facilitated investment and trade between China and India, was frequently interviewed by various media since 2015. He has been dealing the Indian market for a decade, and now bears in his heart a “Zhejiang Dream” – the endeavor to explore in India a brand new market that fully belongs to entrepreneurs from Zhejiang, turned into reality through the joint efforts of all.
Sun Jianqiang also confesses that although entrepreneurs from Wenzhou (a city of Zhejiang Province) would carve out new market in every corner of the world, few of them are willing to develop in India. The basic conditions are so different in China and India, and the gaps in cultural backgrounds are also intriguing. Therefore, making “quick money” is almost a mission impossible in India. Some factories in Wenzhou have commercial ties with companies in India, and a simple order may cost them several months or up to half a year to finish. Both sides usually become worn out before an order is finalized.
In a recent interview with National Business Daily, a representative from Fujian YaomingMeshbelt Company tells us that only 1/4 of its huge industrial zone project in India is complete. The project manager of this industrial zone also promises that he will actively call for further investments from Chinese companies in recent months.
Lin Jun, director of the department of overseas business, YaomingMeshbelt, confesses that India is not the only destination for the company to launch factories overseas. At the same time, the company is also considering Vietnam and other Southeast Asian countries, who will definitely benefit from TPP (Trans -Pacific Partnership Agreement).
“Vietnam, together with other member country of ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations), boast numerous policies that would bring down trade barriers. These countries will become hot choices for labor-intensive companies who wish to move abroad. But in the long run, India is the optimal destination.” Li Jun commented.