When Google began a battle with Beijing that sparked concerns about the challenge of doing business in China, India
The latest India-China trade figures show growth, but try searching for software on China’s shopping list from India: ores, slag, ash, cotton yarn, copper, chemicals, iron and steel, granite and crude mica. India’s ‘top exports’ to the fastest-growing economy also include seafood, hides, fake flowers, feathers, food waste and animal feed.
Ambassador S Jaishankar told HT this week that India will make a ‘big push’ to sell IT in China. That push will be evident on Friday, when India will host a day-long summit in Beijing to tell representatives of Chinese IT, banking, insurance and engineering companies why they need Indian software.
A diplomat called the event an ‘icebreaker’ preceding smaller meetings through the year that will aim to clinch deals. The event includes a discussion on the challenges of Indian companies in China and Chinese companies in India.
The global financial crisis and the pressure on China to adopt a climate-friendly economic path will indirectly help Indian IT get the attention of Chinese majors. Post-recession, provincial Chinese governments are desperate to shift their economic models from factories to R&D labs. State-owned companies famous for favouring only Chinese bids need superior global software to improve their efficiency.
For now, global IT brands like Infosys and TCS are almost unheard of beyond Beijing and Shanghai. Indian IT in China still serves a mainly multinational clientele.
Determined to change the way it trades with China, India has planned 17 business events from April to October — the beginning of an uphill road to enter the domestic economy.
Those who track trade figures in Beijing are pleased that in January 2010 — for which latest Chinese customs data is available — India-China trade notched 4.6 billion dollars, up 58.07 per cent from January 2009. India’s exports to China increased by 110.89 per cent during January.
But while India sold iron ore beyond the border, Chinese exports to India included cell phones, computer parts, electrical machinery, steam boilers and television receivers. Pharmaceuticals are also India’s priority target in China, a market where India is currently the top importer of Chinese antibiotics.
According to January data, China exported over 22 million dollars of penicillin to India.