Opportunities and Risks in India and China

Essay, 2005

21 Pages, Grade: 65%



1. Introduction

2. Introduction Part 1: Opportunities in India & China
2.1 Opportunities in India
2.2 MNCs in India
2.3 Opportunities in China
2.4 MNCs in China
2.5 Opportunity Comparison of India & China

3. Introduction Part 2: Risks in India & China
3.1 Risks in India
3.2 Risks in China
3.3 Shortlist of Risks

4. How to Manage these Risks

5. Recommendation

6. Reference List

1. Introduction

The globalisation of markets and the globalisation of production towards a more integrated and interdependent world economy is one of the fundamental changes in modern world history. Former isolated countries are opening up and as a result becoming fast growing economies. The two most impressive of all developing countries (emerging markets) for different reasons are China and India. China and India can also be described as newly industrialised economies (NIEs) which are politically stable, have free market systems and are approaching western standards. This report shows the opportunities and risks for multinational companies (MNCs) businesses in China and India, illustrated by several examples of MNCs experiences in those countries. In the end, the analysis leads to a recommendation by the author which of these economies is more attractive to do business in.

2. Opportunities in India & China

China's economy has grown at about 9% a year on average since 1978[1], whereas India's annual percentage rate expanded at 6.1% a year in the 1990s. In 2002 China became the first country since the 1980s to attract more FDI (Foreign direct investment) in a year than the United States ($53.2 billion)1. The Indian economic data was and is also impressive. In June 2005, industrial production in India climbed at its fastest rate in nine years: by 11.7% compared with the same month in 2004, including an increase in manufacturing of 12.5%. These figures show how fast both countries improving compared to the rest of the world. With hundreds of millions new consumers the emerging markets are developing rapidly and their market size let MNCs no choice but to enter them. How big the market size is shows figure 1.1 compared to United States.

Figure 1.1 – Market Size

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Harvard Business Review, August 2003 pg.110

2.1 Opportunities in India

After the Second World War India gained independence from Britain. The subcontinent was divided into the secular state of India and the smaller Muslim state of Pakistan. After a third war between Pakistan and India in 1971 East Pakistan was becoming the separate nation of Bangladesh. However, India installed a democratic system of government. The economic system was mixed, characterized by a large number of state owned enterprises, centralized planning and subsidies. The system with government permission and regulations down to production level made it almost impossible to gain economic development. The restrictive system called "licence raj" prevented FDI; controlled the use of land; and prices were managed by the government not the market. In 1991 after 40 years of stagnation the deregulation and privatization in the Republic of India began. Under Dr. Manmohan Singh, now prime minister, as minister of finance political barriers went down. The government started an economic reform program. In 1995 India joined the WTO[2].This step speeds up the government reform program. The private sector was opened and investments by foreign companies were suddenly welcomed. Tariffs were put down from 400% to 65% on average as well as income and corporate taxes were put down. Also many state owned companies (300 in 1991) were privatized in a rapid pace. Nowadays it is possible to invest 100% in most of India's industries, for example in the software development industry or the film industry. Some exceptions are industries like private sector banking, the media or insurances were FDI is still limited to minority stake[3].

India is having a population of 1 billion people and with an annual population growth of 1.6%, twice China's rate, India is expected to overtake its neighbour as the world's most populous nation around 2035. As if this isn't enough India has an average age of 26 years, which means it is younger than China (33). Within this population there is a relatively wealthy middle class of estimated 205 million people who are looking for consumer goods and better life conditions and they are willing to pay for it. The general national income per head reached $530 in 2003.[4]

The fact that the middle class is highly educated from their world class educational institutions and that English is the working language of this class makes them attractive to multinational corporations (MNCs) as employees for manufacturing or engineering, especially software engineering. According to the fact that 900 software companies are currently operating in India and 200,000 software engineers available, the future looks bright. A well educated Indian software programmer works for 5,800 $ a year compared to 90,000 $ a year for an American software engineer. For this low labour cost reason the worldwide IT-family is heavily investing in the Indian software industry. Satellite Communication makes the transport easy as well as fast and the favourable time zone of India allows MNCs to offer a 24 hour service. While their users/customers in the Western World are sleeping Indian engineers are solving their IT problems. In general India is strong in segments that do not need an intensive infrastructure or are faced by restriction (See Risks in India) as the service sector.

2.2 MNCs in India


- McDonald's starts business in India in October 1996, especially attracted by the middle class. McDonald's India is a joint venture company managed by two Indian businessmen (Amit Jatia and Vikram Bakshi). Until 2003 McDonald's opened 38 restaurants and until 2005 estimated 80. For India McDonald's has developed vegetarian menus to suit Indian tastes and preferences, also McDonald's does not offer pork or beef in India. That’s part of McDonald's respect for local culture. Part of this international strategy is also the work together with local suppliers and farmers to meet the McDonald's quality standard. McDonald's shares therefore advanced agricultural technology and management expertise. Nowadays 2000 employees are working for McDonald's India and middle class kids are enjoying the "American" experience.[5]

McDonald's is an MNC with a high level of experience in doing global business. It has one of the most known brands in the world. It is very successful and a good example of how to manage different cultures and adapt the product you are offering in different parts of the world. It is a good marketing example as well as production example, because they source their food locally. Additional example information from McDonald's is used in Part 2.


- Microsoft, IBM, Oracle, Computer Associates and many others, the list of IT (information technology) companies entering the Indian market is long. One big player is missing in the list. It's SAP the German leading provider of business solutions. SAP started its business in India in 1996. The Indian SAP is based in Bangalore and serves 650 customers in the Indian sub-continent with over 1,000 installations of their software. Within their customer-list are many of the biggest Indian companies and SAP still wins new customers every day. At the end of 2004 SAP announced that it will increase their workforce in India. During 2005 SAP will add 1300 software professionals to the existing 1300. By 2006 SAP aims to reach a total strength of 3000 employees in India. SAP believes in the skilled Indian labour force and is satisfied with the excellence work of the Indian-team. SAP sees their Indian unit as one of the fastest growing SAP subsidiaries.[6]

SAP is a good example of a first-class IT-company who is attracted by the good IT environment in India. They are selling their products as well as produce or develop it in India.


- Over 600 million Indian People have chosen products from Unilever the world largest and oldest consumer product company. It is formed in 1956 from a merger of three Unilever subsidiaries in India. The subsidiary is named Hindustan Lever Limited (HLL) and it operates in two main segments Home & Personal Care and Food & Beverages. The product range in India goes from soup, detergents and households over ice cream, chemicals to animal food. The turnover in 2004 reached 2.3 $bn. HLL employed over 11,000 employees and works together with over 2,000 supplier and associates. HLL has a strong position in the Indian market. It is market leader in several categories and is still growing according to over 1 billion consumers in India. But Unilever is not only targeting on the Indian middle-class with their consumer products. Unilever targets also the poor population with its subsidiary Hindustan Lever Limited. The revenues generated from the poor are small, but Unilever's strategy has a long term focus. The purchasing power of the poor people will rise with the development of the whole country as well as the overall income level. When this happens, the Unilever brand is a brand that they are familiar with and this leads to a competitive advantage. Hindustan Lever is currently running a network of 7500 distributors and estimated 3 million retail stores (many of a small size) all over the country. This gives them substantial presence.[7]

Unilever is an interesting example of 50 years of doing business in India. Especially their marketing strategy which is very successful and their long presence in India is interesting. In Part 2 is given additional information, in particular how they cope with difficult situations.


[1] "The Great Transition"; Harvard Business Review, October 2003, p 72

[2] http://www.wto.org/english/thewto_e/countries_e/india_e.htm

[3] "Investing in India", Government of India, New Delhi, November 2005 ; http://dipp.nic.in/manual/manual_11_05.pdf

[4] "The Tiger In Front – A Survey Of India And China; The Economist March 5th 2005

[5] See http://www.mcdonaldsindia.com/aboutus/index.html

[6] See http://www.sap.com/india/company/index.epx ; http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/articleshow/933282.cms

[7] See http://ibef.org/download/Unilever.pdf ; http://www.hll.com/investor/presentation/2005/HLLKotak_Sep2005.pdf

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Opportunities and Risks in India and China
Edinburgh Napier University
International Business
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Opportunities, Risks, India, China, International, Business
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Marcel Heide (Author), 2005, Opportunities and Risks in India and China, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/62026


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