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Saibal Dasgupta on Chinese Art of Trade and What India Can Learn from its Neighbours

BY STSTW Media Writer April 21, 2020
A shop in the streets of Hong Kong

A shop in the streets of Hong Kong, Kowloon, China. (Mstyslav Chernov / Wikimedia Commons)

Growth trajectories of India and China as developing nations are fairly similar. But over the years China has thrived to become the next global superpower, and India is yet to accomplish its goal of becoming the next China. Author and journalist, Saibal Dasgupta in his book Running with The Dragon- How India Should Do Business with China gives detailed yet concise knowhow of achieving the decade’s old dream. 

Dasgupta has lived in China for years as a correspondent of the Times of India and has studied and explored the Chinese businesses and markets. He has used this knowledge to guide Indian businesses in setting a foothold in China and subsequently in the world. He presents each chapter in the book with case studies relevant to the topic discussed.

The author questions the readers regarding India’s average trade feat in China despite improved bilateral trades. Besides a handful of IT sector companies, Dasgupta writes Indian traders have not made their mark in China’s difficult yet an advantageous market. 

“Barring a few companies, there is hardly any Indian brand presence in China. Few Indian firms have considered it worth their while to attempt this transition from presence to brand and most others think this is higher than the Great Wall to surmount.”

To climb this great wall, Dasgupta suggests traders to consider China a partner and not a rival. And emulate the Chinese expertise and approach of industrial trade to make a presence in the global market. Additionally, recommends testing the economic waters in China and acclimatizing with the industrial locale in the cities. Suggests, Indian Firms to make China their main domain by employing Mandarin-speaking staff. This could prove beneficial in the long term in not just setting up their base in China, but also expanding their businesses in neighbouring countries.

“Establishing factories and offices in China and building a team of experienced Chinese staff could help Indian companies reach out to several other countries where Mandarin is spoken and understood such as Vietnam, Indonesia and to some extent Malaysia.”

Dasgupta in his book speaks to businessmen who have learnt the art of Chinese trading and succeeded in making an impact in local markets there. They have established head offices in China rather than working remotely from India, which had negative impacts on their work earlier. These interviews give a clear understanding of trade functioning with advanced Chinese infrastructure and digital ecosystem unlike the difficult conditions back home in India.  

“Some of the major challenges that bog down business or frighten investors in India are absent in today’s China although they existed two decades ago. Infrastructure is not a challenge any more. It is not just that transport facilities are easy and fast, but several other systems like payment mechanisms and the system of obtaining government approvals are digitalized and quick.”

Author, also sheds light on the opportunities present in various sectors, be it the healthcare, R&D, education and even the food industry. Education and healthcare, the author thinks, are India’s strong pursuits and thus India, following in the footsteps of educational giant NIIT, can provide cost-efficient educational programmes as alternatives to expensive courses from American-European competitors. 

Saibal Dasgupta’s Book Running with The Dragon-How India Should Do Business with China gives a thoroughly researched and analysed insight into the working of China’s industrial market. Giving, an insider’s view into the market, he suggests Indian businessmen take a leaf out of their books and get a strong footing in China similar to their position in India with companies like Haier, Xiaomi etc. It is a well-structured and documented book with lessons for emerging business persons and policy makers. Written in a simple language, it’s an easy to read and understand book suited for anyone interested and not just for the corporate minds.

More about the book:

Running with the Dragon- How India Should Do Business with China | By Saibal Dasgupta



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