The business world is being disrupted by the combined effects of growing emerging economies, shifts in global demographics, ubiquity of technology and accountability regulation. Infosys believes that to compete in the flat world, businesses must shift their operational priorities.

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November 30, 2006

How Important is China to Your Business?

by Aditya Jha, Head of Global Branding

How important is China to your business? Is it a salad dressing that’s fashionable, or is it being prepared to be the main course? There’s a simple test you can take. Your organization structure should, theoretically, reflect the priority of your organization. So, the test is: do you have a Chief China Officer?

Why do you require a Chief China Officer? Because doing business in China is slightly different and more complex than doing business elsewhere.

Doing business in China requires building trust. Building trust requires an understanding of individual drivers and the dynamics of the bureaucratic-political network. Building trust requires an appreciation of subtlety of cultural nuances. Building trust requires being on top of the current and projected industrial and monetary policy trajectories. Building trust requires insights into geo-political fault lines within China (example: Taiwan/Hong Kong/outer provinces) and the socio-economic fault lines within the consumers (example: jeans vs free speech; the influence of the conventional loneliness of the only child on the importance of virtual communities).

If you are a non-Chinese company competing in the Chinese market, it may be worth while to remember that the Chinese companies are better placed to crack this code. Unlike market projection data, these can’t be bought off the shelf. To run your operations, you need a person who is plugged in, not only operationally, but also culturally, socially and politically.

So, do you have a Chief China Officer?

More introductions...

I have asked Aditya Jha, who heads Infosys global branding, to share his thoughts about business in China.  He recently visited Infosys China development center and has some interesting observations.  

Aditya started his career at ad agencies and worked at many agencies over the years, including Lowe, DY&R, Ambience, FCB, and O&M. He has won over 50 awards for his work in print, radio, and TV.  Aditya then switched to heading the marketing function of a product startup. He likes to say that he started his own company on the day the NASDAQ crashed by 605 points. The company focused on creating an instruction architecture model that maximizes the learning of a student even without the presence of good teachers. He says, "the model worked but the business failed". 

Aditya has also written two serials and contributes regularly as a columnist to Outlook, one of India’s premier news magazines. He holds a degree in Chemical Engineering from IIT.

November 17, 2006

Milton Friedman passes away

Milton Friedman, the libertarian Nobel Prize winning economist died this week.  His views have shaped the beliefs of generations of economists and business thinkers, and, combined with those of many others have contributed to the shift in government mindsets across the world towards opening up their economies.

A good coverage of Milton's views and some past interviews are available on NPR. An exerpt from a 2000 interview:

Now the Internet, by enabling transactions to be made in cyberspace, not recorded, by enabling them to move so that somebody in Britain can order books from in the United States, somebody in the United States can do a deal in India, I think the cyberspace is going to make it very much more difficult for government to collect taxes, and that will have a very important effect on reducing the role that governments can play.

And in 1999:

[The fall of communism would have a long lasting impact] because it marked the philosophical supremacy of the idea of free markets and private enterprise over the idea of collective central planning. The collapse of communism in essence added tens and tens of millions of people to the world labor supply, and the people who were added had previously been getting very low income, but they were not unskilled. Many of them were fairly well educated.  

Whether you agree with his views or not, he played an important role in shaping economic theory and practice through passionate debates and government influence.

The New York Times also has a detailed coverage of his views and impact.

November 14, 2006

Admin matters

Due to the ADR related media "silent period", Infosys senior executives will not be commenting in this space.  It is expected that the silent period will end by December.  Till then, we will continue as usual but without contributions from Infosys senior executives.

And as promised earlier, the blogger profiles section is now available. As additional people post their thoughts here, their bios will become available.

November 1, 2006

Talent development

Some readers have commented about needs of the employers vs. employees.  That raises another interesting point.

Just as in client-vendor relationships the "us vs. them" mentality is being replaced by tightly integrated collaboration, in employer-employee relationships similar approahces can become attractive especially when talent is in shortage.  For example, it is in an employer's best interest to help its employees' develop their skillsets to the fullest and offer them opportunities for professional growth.  And, employees may find staying with these employers advantageous if the growth opportunities offered exceed what they can find in a new organization.

In fact, as jobs of the future require more multi-faceted skills, talent development becomes critical for both the employer and the employee.