China, India can collaborate to counter trade war uncertainties

Source:Global Times Published: 2019/7/2 17:28:40

China, India have grounds for tech cooperation

Girish Ramachandran Photo: Li Qiaoyi/GT

Editor's Note:

There is growing belief that China and India are set to become the drivers of global growth and the technology part of the story is especially worth noting. During the World Economic Forum "Summer Davos" in the coastal city of Dalian, Northeast China's Liaoning Province, Girish Ramachandran (Ramachandran), president of the Asia-Pacific region of Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), offered insights into technology ties between the two giant Asian economies while talking with Global Times reporter Li Qiaoyi (GT) in an exclusive interview on Monday.

GT: There are concerns that China's tech sector is cooling off. Do you believe winter is coming for China's tech sector?

: I don't believe there is a winter coming. In fact, I would say spring is here, in that everybody needs China for its growth. This is simply because the opportunities in China are immense. In the case of TCS, the company has continued on a growth path, having in the last three years added more people in China than in the previous decade. We believe China has a lot to offer and we'll continue to be here. 

Some of the technological advances in China have been so phenomenal that people can learn from what's happening - for example, the whole concept of providing one large platform through which every consumer can do almost everything in everyday life. I personally believe that there's a very good opportunity for Chinese companies to look beyond China. But now Chinese tech companies are mostly focused on the home market. Overseas markets could be leveraged to build an ecosystem of partnerships outside China. 

For example, WeChat as a platform can explore opportunities beyond the home territory. Similarly, some of the strides China has made in artificial intelligence and machine learning could be leveraged for growth outside China. Chinese companies could have tremendous opportunities in the markets of ASEAN and India.

Some Chinese companies excel in promoting themselves in overseas markets and localizing their operations. Chinese telecom firms are so popular in India that Chinese smartphone vendor OPPO sponsors the Indian cricket team. 

GT: What do you think of the impact on foreign investment in China's tech sector from the nation's unreliable entities list?

Ramachandran: I have been noticing the Chinese government getting very serious about regulation and governance. There are different ways to look at what it means for companies like TCS and other global companies. One way is that China is trying to enforce new governance and corporate regulations that are prevalent across the world. 

China is also opening up a few sectors. I can see the leadership is very clear about fighting corruption and putting in place the whole concept of governance and creating standards. All of these actually mean that over a period of time, there will be a level playing field. It is an opportunity that large companies should look forward to.

In light of the pace of change in China, India and Indonesia, governance is very different as the markets are at different stages of evolution. Anybody who is serious about building a long-term business in the Chinese market needs to think in a sustainable way.

GT: To what extent will the China-US trade war, which has weighed on global tech supply chains, impact India? Will the trade war risk a global technology split?

: India's strengths and China's strengths are very different. India's strengths are primarily in software and software services, whereas China's strength is in hardware and new technologies. 

Any trade war would cause a lot of uncertainty and no business is comfortable with that. There will definitely be winners and losers. But it makes more sense to figure out how India and China can collaborate so that the opportunities are much larger. 

I feel there is an opportunity for India and China to come together. Any crisis is an opportunity.

If you follow the trade war, you will hear one day it goes in a particular direction, and another day we have come back to negotiations. Even if the trade war continues and Chinese companies are affected, I believe there will be other opportunities for them. It's like saying artificial intelligence will take away a lot of jobs, but meanwhile a new set of jobs will be created.  

GT: Is progress in technology and innovation cooperation between China and India happening quickly enough?

Ramachandran: I believe leaders of the two countries are very close to each other. That's an opportunity that both countries need to grasp. 

If you look at the number of Indian visitors to China, it has almost doubled over the last two years. There are two or three types of people. The first type purely comes in for sourcing in China; the second is people who have businesses in China; and the third is students coming to study in China. 

If you start collaboration at the ground level between students, teachers and businesses from both countries, that will open up a whole new set of possibilities. The only thing is that China should also look at India favorably. We also need to get students from China to study in India. 

The two countries have a high emphasis on science, technology, engineering and mathematics, and in both nations, parents want their kids to have good degrees, so they can have a better future.

GT: The huge potential in India's tech sector has led to Chinese investment pouring into the Indian market in recent years, stirring concerns about Chinese companies buying controlling stakes in some stellar startups in India. Are such worries justified?

Ramachandran: Every country is worried about national interests. But an open economy means not preventing companies from a particular country or a set of countries from operating. An example is the Indian retail sector in which the two major companies are Amazon and Walmart. 

GT: How would you grade China's opening-up efforts from an Indian standpoint?

Ramachandran: China has opened up a lot of sectors including auto and insurance. From a business point of view, we would like to see if we are able to cooperate more with state-owned enterprises (SOEs). Most SOEs already have a lot of IT and technology people, but that might not be enough considering new technology trends. In this sense, it is hoped that companies like us can help in transforming SOEs.

GT: What's your outlook for China's economy?

Ramachandran: I'm optimistic. China is a consumer-led society and a lot more consumers here continue to buy. The aspirations of Chinese people are similar to those of Indians. Everybody wants better education, healthcare and housing. All of that combined will only continue to propel the economy, just like in India. So I believe that the current century will be for Asian countries. 

Newspaper headline: China, India have grounds for tech cooperation


blog comments powered by Disqus