The new China CEO of Pune-based Suzlon Energy has dipped his fingers in sambar-rice and travelled to India before the age of cellular roaming when he carried six cell phones.
"No Darjeeling tea? They must change that," said He Yaozu as green tea arrived. The mantra most repeated in conversation with HT was 'localise.'
Foreign companies struggle against the wind in China - the world's largest wind market - complaining that the industry is skewed in favour of domestic and state-owned companies. But He disagrees. "I don't agree. China is a highly competitive market," he said.
It's a complete change of view from his predecessor Paulo Fernando Soares who told HT in February that it's 'unbelievable, unusual and unnatural' that global wind power players are not winning major central government contracts.
Suzlon is the world's third-largest wind turbine maker with five years invested in China. The appointment of a Beijing-based Chinese CEO is a strategic decision to improve competitiveness.
He is the first Chinese CEO of a major international wind turbine maker in China. "I like a dare," he said. "If it's easy everybody would be doing it."
India is the fifth largest wind market, surpassed by China in 2008. In 2009, India added 1,271 MW installed wind power capacity while China added 13,000 MW. In 2009, Suzlon China was executing contracts to deliver over 1 giga watt (GW) wind energy.
Suzlon plans to sell entire projects in China instead of only turbines. "We are looking into co-financing and co-developing wind farms to sell a whole project," He said.
The CEO describes sampling sambar-rice for Rs 2 on a banana leaf during an earlier stint, as his Indian 'indoctrination'. "Indians and Chinese are smart," he said. "They are good negotiators and drive a hard bargain."
"It's a matter of trust and aligning goals in the right direction," he summed up.