Anil Ambani Fixing Creaking Infrastructure / BBC World Business Report

Was interviewed on BBC TV’s World Business Report yesterday on the issue of Reliance ADA committing $7bn to strengthen their company’s ability to win more infrastructure projects in India.

Asked whether this ambition of Ambani Jnr is a nationalistic move – I had to point out that Indian’s make astute business decisions. First and foremost, take a look at the market. From the moment you land in India, you can’t help but observe the huge challenges India’s creaking infrastructure poses to her global emergence. Some commentators peg the opportunity as being a trillion dollar market.

Having local market knowledge and experience, it goes without that saying that Mr Ambani is well placed to compete in this market. Indian’s may be emotional and patriotic, but you shouldn’t mistake this decision to be anything but a business decision. Investing $7bn to capture a larger slice of a trillion dollar cake seems a good decision.

The Indian Government will be keen to attract global firms to participate in these mega infrastructure projects. Whilst these global firms possess expertise and specialism, they struggle immensly in India for the simple reason that they don’t have local knowledge. They don’t know how to navigate through the cultural maze. This is why we’ve set up Chase India and The India Briefing Centre to help global companies crack India.

 

 

Chinese & Crisis Management

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been fascinated by the way different systems and cultures deal with disasters and crisis situations. Take the Chinese earthquake as an example. Their departure from their “normal” mode of behaviour i.e. closing down any access to politicians, access to western media, providing statistics on the death toll etc has to be welcomed.

I think Premier Wen Jiabao has shown that the Chinese, too, are normal human beings and not the robots who work 24/7 without any signs of emotion to provide us our DVD players and Gap jeans.

Everyone goes on and on about China, but, I for one, have simply not caught the bug to visit the country. I suppose my reasoning is that it simply doesn’t feel like a fun place to go to.

Sure, it may have history, sure indigenous culture is important to note, but the overarching rules that dictate daily life that are laid out by the Communist Party of China (as portrayed in our media) seem a little too strait-jacketed for me and for this reason any effort made by Premier Wen to bring in more openness in China has to be welcomed.

 Perhaps the Burmese should take note?

Crack India – be better informed.

Last week, my firm (www.saffronchase.com) launched the India Briefing Centre – a service that can help British firms crack India. The first being bespoke sectoral briefings and training programmes that can provide executives looking to engage with India, the vital information they require to make decisions. Whilst the focus is on briefings, our mainstay is delivering intercultural training for teams from leading companies visiting India, which we’ve been doing over the past decade in various other guises.

From the moment you land to the moment you return back to your home country, you’ll find India to be a land of contradictions. Because of her shared history with Britain and her contribution to the Commonwealth, it’s easy to make the mistake that the same rules apply in India as they do, for example, in the UK. Whether it’s in the workplace, in emails, on phone conferences, or after hours when you’re socialising with colleagues – if you don’t wise up and realise that the rules are different, you’re guaranteed failure and risk alienating yourself.

Our experience tells us that those contemplating working in India are better off having some form of orientation before they leave. Learn the rules behind creating positive relations with Indians and you’ll be far more successful.

From past experience, the segment that everyone really enjoys in our intercultural training programme, is the 15 minute excerpt of a Bollywood film.

Forget what I said earlier about learning the rules – just watch the latest Bollywood flick and you’ll be fine 🙂

 If you’d like to read our press release, you can view it here: http://www.saffronchase.com/SC_press_release_May2008.pdf