China Still Gets A Lot More Respect Than India, But It Is A Matter Of Time Before That Changes

Updated: Jan 31 2004, 05:30am hrs
Management guru Professor CK Prahalad of the University of Michigan spoke to FE on the main management trends that came out at the summit, its relevance for India and how the world sees India and China. Excerpts:

If you take the management-oriented issues, there have been four or five dominant themes at Davos. The first theme has been corporate governance. There have been multiple sessions on this. Nothing earth-shaking here.

The second debate is about poverty reduction and removing the inequalities and what is the role that large corporations must play. That is the topic that I have been very involved with. Four years ago, it got very little attention.

This year, there have been ten sessions. I think the work that I have been doing, looking at private sector as instruments of development, without loosing their ability to generate profits is becoming accepted.

The discussion has shifted from: should private sector get involved to how can the private sector be involved and make money. The role of the private sector in the developmental stage while generating profits is getting well accepted. That is the good news. The third is that all across the world, there is innovation and the concern for growth is well documented. But the solutions offered were more variations of what was known; not something that was totally onknown. The fourth is the concern about public-private open proprietary standards and the evolution of a new form of code in the internet and what does this all mean for individual businesses. Also, in this how will social relations change For example, Korea which has the largest number of people connected to broadband, 70 per cent are connected to stocks and a significant proportion of them are women.

The relevance and applicability of all this to India is 100 per cent. India gets used a lot to illustrate some of these, whether it is ITC, EID Parry or ICICI. Today, China still gets a lot more respect than India does. But it is only a matter of time before that changes.