Indian Companies in Overseas Markets: Perspectives, Patterns, and Implications J Ramachandran, Habil F Khorakiwala, Jerry Rao, Pramod Khera, Niraj Dawar, and B N Kalyani Rajnish Karki (Coordinator) Executive Summary includes debate by practitioners and academicians on a contemporary topic COLLOQUIUM KEY WORDS International Competitiveness Overseas Expansion Outsourcing Strategy International Organization Indian Brands Indian Multinationals During the previous decade, the nature and dynamics of Indian companies’ engagement with the overseas markets have gone through a shift.
Overseas expansion and competitiveness are increasingly dependent on firm level capabilities rather than on national endowments in traditional products or commodities. Two meta-trends are driving the presence, growth, and competitiveness of Indian companies in overseas markets. One, the process of liberalization and globalization of Indian economy has led to the development of competitive capabilities by Indian companies and has brought about intensive interaction with global corporations, professionals, capital, ideas, and practices.
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Two, the transforming impact of information and communication technology (ICT) on the world of business has resulted in the emergence of new types of businesses and new ways of organizing. The context and timing bestow Indian companies with a set of advantages and challenges. This panel discussion has the benefit of six cogent contributions—from academics who have intimately researched the phenomenon to practitioners who have led their organizations and have created substantial presence in overseas markets.
Some of the major patterns and conclusions that the colloquium converges upon are as follows: From comparative to competitive advantage: With shift towards advantages based on availability, lower cost and skills of the technical and scientific manpower, Indian companies’ need to create complementary skills and the success are governed by competencies developed within a company and aspirations of its top management.
Favourable ‘push’ and ‘pull’ conditions for overseas successes: For an increasing number of industries, Indian companies are reaching the point of having global advantages—favourable factor conditions, domestic demand characteristics comparable to that overseas, presence of ancillary and supportive skills, and pervasive confidence for looking beyond domestic markets. On the ‘pull’ side, from the situation of Indian origin being a handicap, the world has come to acknowledge ‘India advantage. Three strategy types for Indian companies in overseas markets: ‘Outsourcing,’ where the domestic market is either very small or unattractive; ‘Internationalization,’ where companies are aiming to expand market or balance business downturns and risks of domestic market; and, ‘Multinationalization,’ where companies are aiming to create sustainable competitive position in several geographies.
Differing requirements of the institutional and the retail customers: Joint ventures are generally not viable for institutional customers, while being a useful option for reaching the latter—with benefits related to local knowledge, capital, brand, and distribution. Organizing for growth and capability building: Structure for the three strategy types is different and a ‘dual-core’ model could balance requirements of risk-taking in new areas with efficiency in stabilized activities.
While carrying Indian imprint, the culture will be company-specific and should be allowed to evolve in a directed way. Critical role of conviction-laden leadership: This is a common element across all the Indian companies that have made overseas breakthroughs and the leadership traits of being clear, fundamentals oriented, and planned need to be supplemented with international orientation and preparedness for longer haul for success in overseas markets.
While the first meta-trend has just started manifesting itself in overseas expansions of Indian companies, ICT positions and embodies them with powerful competitive advantages internationally. The events of last decade are just the beginning towards the emergence of Indian corporations that operate worldwide and, more importantly, hold significant and leading positions globally in a large number of industries. 93 VIKALPA • VOLUME 29 • NO 4 • OCTOBER – DECEMBER 2004 93 INTRODUCTION TO THE COLLOQUIUM Rajnish Karki Director & CEO, STRATDESIGN Mumbai
I n the last few years, the option to operate beyond domestic territory has become an essential consideration for most of the Indian companies. While some are ‘born global,’ for many, it is the natural path of growth and expansion. This Colloquium explores the phenomenon of ‘Indian companies in overseas markets’ in order to identify major facets and aspects and to draw useful conclusions for being successful. development (a little more than a decade) and the count of globally significant ones rarely exceeds a dozen or so.
Though it is the firms that compete internationally, the competitiveness depends considerably on the natural and skill-based factor endowments, size and sophistication of demand, and psyche and self-belief of the national environment and home base. Emergence of globally competitive companies from The presence, growth, and competitiveness of Indian a nation is an outcome of the congruous and supportive companies in overseas markets is primarily being driven context and the setting up of an enabling process. The by two meta-trends.
One, the process of liberalization context in the form of two meta-trends is highly and globalization of the Indian economy has led to the favourable now. This will enable progressively a larger development of competitive capabilities by the Indian number of India-based companies to create significant companies and has brought about positions in the overseas markets. intensive interaction with global The process, acting through demoThough it is the firms that corporations, professionals, capital, nstration effect of an internationacompete internationally, ideas, and practices.
Two, the translizing company on compatriots the competitiveness forming impact of information and within the industry and beyond and depends considerably on communication technology (ICT) on through creation of allied institutions the natural and skillthe world of business has resulted in and skills, i. e. , financial and legal based factor endowments, the emergence of new types of busiexpertise, is gaining momentum and size and sophistication of nesses and new ways of orga- nizing. reaching a critical mass.
Thus, the demand, and psyche and The context and timing bestows Indian business is perhaps close to self-belief of the national Indian companies with a set of advana historical turning point, in many environment and home tages and challenges. This will be ways similar to that of the Japanese base. reflected not only in the business and companies in mid-1960s. The Indian organizational choices of individual experience could be equally novel companies but also in the overall and important, globally. patterns of internationalization of Indian companies as This Colloquium has the benefit of six cogent a genre. ontributions. They represent a diversity to cover the On the other hand, business corporations have various facets of the ‘Indian companies in overseas operated outside their home territory virtually from the markets’ — the academics who have intimately beginning of commercial enterprise and to talk of researched the phenomenon and the practitioners who operating overseas in a seamless and integrated world have led their organizations and have created substantial of today could appear to be an oxymoron. However, till presence in the overseas markets.
The contributions the 1960s, almost all companies operating beyond their together make for a thorough perspective and a fine home territories were European or American with the repository of insights on how Indian companies can latter being slower to go overseas. Japanese companies emerge as significant global players. started emerging internationally in the late 1960s and J Ramachandran of IIM, Bangalore states that the those from Korea and other East Asian countries in the new genre of companies with international business is 1980s. Emerging market multinationals is a recent 94 INDIAN COMPANIES IN OVERSEAS MARKETS 94 ifferent from those in pre-1990 period or anytime before. Unlike commodity exporters, these companies are built upon competitive advantages of knowledge and organizational capabilities which will enable them to penetrate deeper and go up the value chain. They can emerge as globally significant players in their industries, and will also spur companies in their own and other industries. He analyses the dynamics of macro, industry, and company-specific factors for the recent developments and outlines future agenda for the new genre of companies and lessons for the aspirants and potential overseas competitors from India. ocalization, move up the value chain, merge in local milieu rather than stand out, and handle negotiations appropriately. Niraj Dawar of University of Western Ontario states that besides information technology, marketing is India’s key competency globally. Unlike other emerging economies like China and Russia, Indian companies have built successful brands locally, and equally importantly, Indians are entrusted with managing international brands by even the most centralized of the foreign companies. The world-class skill is there and it needs to be exploited. Infosys needs to and is becoming a global brand.
The issues that have to be tackled are — ‘ways’ to acquire knowledge about local consumers in foreign markets and then evolving approaches for creating or adapting brands and ‘means’ to support the investments required in terms of funds and time. Habil F Khorakiwala of Wockhardt Ltd. reckons that ‘India advantage’ in pharmaceuticals is based on the scientific and professional resources of international calibre, entrepreneurship, and cost advantages in all components of the value chain. Interestingly, foreign companies who came to tap middleB N Kalyani of Bharat Forge class market discovered these advanThe stage is set for Indian Ltd. ays that the company’s overseas tages which the Indian companies companies to emerge as expansion began with the need to leveraged aggressively to take posiplayers of relevance in a expand market, improve productions in overseas markets. They have large number of industries tivity and technology levels, and deacquired developed country corpoglobally. risk business across countries. They rations and no country including have become the second largest China can really compare on the forging corporation in the world and breakthroughs. He emphasizes on a glocal approach for their product range extends to the most complex and anaging global business with ‘globally integrated’ high value added products. He believes outsourced management processes, manufacturing, information manufacturing is a huge and realistic opportunity and technology, human resources, and supply chain and says: “The world is beginning to believe in India; We ‘locally responsive’ approaches for sales, marketing, need to believe in our ability to compete, perform, and regulatory affairs, and intellectual property rights (IPRs). succeed! ” Innovation is the key to unassailable Jerry Rao of Mphasis Ltd. ules out short cuts of competitive strength in the global market and Indian joint ventures and partnerships if Indian companies are companies have the requisite wherewithal. He argues genuine about becoming serious global players. In IT for a Toyota-like ambitious and competitive approach and business process outsourcing where primary markets in the overseas markets. are outside the country, the ‘DNA’ of being an India based company is important — it should not be altered The major patterns or conclusions and their imperaand denied but embellished and evolved for success. ives for Indian companies are put together in the final section. However, the theme — that the stage is set for Pramod Khera of Aptech Ltd. provides a perspective Indian companies to emerge as players of relevance in from a business that, unlike most of the Indian overseas a large number of industries globally — is unambiguous. forays, needs to deal with retail consumers overseas. He Fortune ‘2004 Global 500’ lists four Indian, three cites the success achieved in China through a joint venture Brazilian, three Russian, 15 Chinese, 13 Korean, and 82 and the importance of having a credible and known Japanese companies.
India can aspire to match, if not partner for brand-based retail businesses. China is a high exceed, the number of ‘Global 500’ Japanese companies potential market and Indian companies can succeed if in a decade or two. they can effectively gather local knowledge, undertake VIKALPA • VOLUME 29 • NO 4 • OCTOBER – DECEMBER 2004 95 95 DYNAMICS AND POTENTIAL OF NEW WAVE J Ramachandran BOC Professor of Business Policy Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore T he Vikalpa Colloquium on the engagement of Indian companies with global markets raises a set of interesting questions.
They are interesting because while the engagement of Indian companies with overseas markets per se is not new, the nature and the character of engagement of Indian firms with global markets has undergone a dramatic change over the last decade. customers’ demands, which predominantly comprises the global auto majors. What led to the emergence of this new genre of companies? It is tempting to attribute the emergence of these globally competitive companies to the economic reform programme that the Government of India embarked upon in the early 1990s.
However, that would only provide a partial explanation. The reform prograHistorically, engagement of the Indian firms with mme, by opening up the Indian markets to global overseas markets was with the export of traditional companies, made the need to be competitive — to defend products like tea, coffee, iron ore, leather, apparel, gems one’s market position — a compulsion. It, however, did and jewellery, etc. However, in the last ten years, largely not make participating in global markets necessary.
That on the back of the performance of firms in the Indian was still a matter of choice for the top managements of software and pharmaceutical industries and increasingly the companies. Most of them including several large the auto component industry, Indian companies have ones in the Indian industry do not actively participate been successfully participating in what can be broadly in the global markets even today. Indeed, one could classified as ‘new age’ industries that argue that it is their participation in are ‘technology-knowledge-servicethe global markets, by choice, instead Indian firms have been intensive. Thus, the participation of of compulsion, that has resulted in successful in making an Indian firms is no more restricted to the successful emergence of the impact on the global ‘commodity’ like industries. Second, globally competitive firms cited markets when the and more important, is the emergence earlier. In fact, the earlier policy engagement has been of globally competitive companies in regime did require companies to voluntary and not these industries. Infosys, Wipro, TCS, ‘export’ if they wanted to gain access imposed by policy. nd Satyam in the software industry; to (the then) precious foreign Ranbaxy Laboratories, Dr. Reddy’s exchange to import capital goods, Laboratories, and Aurobindo Pharma in the pharmainput materials, etc. This compulsive characteristic of ceutical industry; and Bharat Forge and Sundaram the ‘export requirement’ however, failed to result in the Fasteners in the auto component industry would be emergence of globally competitive companies. The relevant examples. In sharp contrast, despite decades ‘exports’ of most of the companies was largely a sham. f exports of traditional goods listed earlier, India has They, typically, fulfilled the requirement by ‘routing’ not seen the emergence of a single firm that is a force exports of traditional products made by the traditional to reckon with in those industries. Third, even though exporters through their books of accounts! Thus, Indian the competitiveness of these new age companies is still firms have been successful in making an impact on the largely anchored in the country-specific advantage of global markets when the engagement has been voluntary. ow cost, the managements of these companies have And not imposed by policy. However, policy regimes sought to go beyond cost competitiveness by focusing can enable. That is precisely what the economic reforms on the organizational dimension. They have built highly of the early 1990s did. responsive organizations that compete fiercely in the global Similarly, it is tempting to attribute the successes markets, including, critically, in the most advanced achieved by the new genre of companies to the visionary markets of the world.
Bharat Forge, for example, competes leadership of these companies. That would be a facile on the basis of its ability to respond rapidly to its 96 96 INDIAN COMPANIES IN OVERSEAS MARKETS explanation. Visionary leadership is a necessary but not success in this industry despite, even more interestingly, a sufficient condition. Beyond leadership, what has led the absence of a robust or a well-developed domestic to the successes of these companies is the set of difficult market for their services. While one could argue that the choices they made.
The most important of them was the huge demand for software services and availability of decision to pursue opportunities in the most competitive low cost software engineers was the prime reason for markets of the world. Consider Ranbaxy. It is often cited their success, it would not do justice to the achievement as a stellar example of visionary leadership. Indeed, Dr of firms in the industry. While these two factors provided Parvinder Singh, the late Chairman and CEO of the the initial window of opportunity, they were not all. The company, was a visionary.
He did set the company on firms of the industry have not only achieved phenomenal the path of globalization. However, what proved to be growth in terms of revenues and profits, but have also a critical inflection point in the displayed a remarkable resilience company’s successful journey was and importantly consistency in their This pattern of its decision in the mid-1990s to performance. This is truly laudable engagement with the most participate in the fiercely competitive considering the technological and competitive markets of US markets.
Until then, Ranbaxy was business volatility that this industry the world and display of exporting its products essentially to was subjected to over the last decade. a willingness to learn and a number of what can be termed as Their emergence as world-class invest in building the India-look-alike (read developing) players can be traced to a series of necessary competencies is markets. In these markets, price is complementary and continuous discernible across this the key success driver. They are not managerial innovations that they new genre of companies. demanding on other parameters like unleashed.
For example, they pioThus, one would argue quality, delivery, innovation, etc. On neered the off-shore model of that the commitment to the other hand, the advanced markets software service delivery. They overlike the US and Europe are very came the traditional concerns with engage with the most demanding on these counts. In these outsourcing to a remote location by competitive markets and markets, customers punish firms for innovatively leveraging software the concomitant underperformance on these other process quality certifications under willingness to learn and parameters.
It is the commitment to the capability maturity model (CMM) adapt to the requirements serve demanding customers of the developed by Software Engineering of demanding customers advanced markets of the world with Institute (SEI) of Carnegie Mellon led to the success the attendant willingness to learn and University. For example, they used achieved by these critically invest in developing the it to overcome the ‘country of origin’ companies in the global requisite competencies (regulatory and bias that firms from ‘developing’ markets. egal in this case) exhibited by it that countries like India typically conmade a crucial difference to Ranfront, particularly in knowledgebaxy’s performance in the global markets. This pattern intensive industries like software. To assuage fears over of engagement with the most competitive markets of the ‘loss of control’ over remote location operations by client world and display of the willingness to learn and invest personnel, they developed a set of metrics and governance in building the necessary competencies is discernible mechanisms that were anchored in the well-accepted across this new genre of companies.
Thus, one would SEI-CMM framework. While the metrics enabled ‘output’ argue that the commitment to engage with the most control by the clients, the governance mechanisms competitive markets and the concomitant willingness to developed around them gave them a strong sense of learn and adapt to the requirements of demanding ‘behaviour’ control over the operations and mitigated customers led to the success achieved by these companies their apprehensions. 1 Thus, the success achieved by the firms in the software industry suggests that, in addition in the global markets.
Participation in the advanced markets of the world, however, was not an option to the Indian software industry. Yet, Indian firms have achieved spectacular VIKALPA • VOLUME 29 • NO 4 • OCTOBER – DECEMBER 2004 1 See Mukherji, S and Ramachandran, J, ” Complementary and Continuous Innovations: Case of the Indian Software Industry,” Journal of Academy of Business and Economics, forthcoming, for a detailed exposition of this thesis. 97 97 to choice of markets to compete in, execution matters. And, more importantly, innovation in execution matters. harmaceutical majors have acquired some local manufacturing facilities. But, these have largely been done to gain a toehold in these markets. Textbook The success achieved by the new genre of companies distinctions of ‘going global’ vs. ‘going international’ are is also due to their careful selection of the market segments largely irrelevant in an increasingly globalizing world. to participate in. For example, the Indian software majors The impact on competitiveness should drive the choice of largely participate in the service space and not in the activities to locate in different geographies.
Not academic product space. Similarly, the pharmaceutical majors niceties! These companies seem to have followed this essentially participate in the generic segment of the edict. For example, most have, quite appropriately, pharmaceutical industry and not in the research-intensive located the customer acquisition function closer to the new-to-the-world products segment. The companies in customer in the various geographies they participate in. the auto component industry too supply relatively Similarly, many of these companies have opted to ‘standard’ products like crankshafts and radiator caps. obilize funds from the international capital markets. They do not, as yet, offer ‘original’ products designed In addition to lowering their cost of capital, mobilizing and developed by them on their ‘own’ technology funds from global capital markets signalled the platforms. The advantages of participating in these kinds willingness of the managements of these companies to of market segments are multi-fold. First, the decisionsubject themselves to high standards of corporate making process at the customers’ end governance providers of capital in would be more rational than impulglobal market.
Additionally, raising Textbook distinctions of sive. Second, communicating the financial resources from international ‘going global’ vs. ‘going compelling nature of their value promarkets brought these companies international’ are largely position (competitive quality at low cost) within the radar of global investment irrelevant in an to these kinds of customers is bankers all of whom started tracking increasingly globalizing relatively easy. Third, evaluation of and reporting the performance of world. The impact on their ability to perform and their these companies.
This resulted in competitiveness should subsequent performance by these high visibility and, more importantly, customers is fairly straightforward. drive the choice of accorded credibility to these firms Witness the high retention rates of activities to locate in and subtly aided their customer customers by these companies. different geographies. acquisition process. Fourth, they do not need to invest heavily in building complementary Increasingly, this new genre of assets like product brands or distribution that are critical companies, as they seek to move up the food chain by for success in other segments of the industry.
In most offering more sophisticated products and services, are of these cases selling is direct to the customers, and enhancing their overseas presence, largely through where access to distribution channels (as in the case of acquisitions. However, they have been highly selective pharmaceutical products) was required, they were easily in their acquisitions. They have typically used available. That does not mean customer acquisition is acquisitions to access the difficult-to-build competencies of easy.
These firms needed to compete, and compete the acquired companies rather than to achieve scale. Even vigorously, with other suppliers. However, the parawhere companies have preferred the green-field route, meters of selection are relatively well-specified (largely their overseas initiatives have been driven by the need cost, quality, and delivery) and that makes the task of to access skills (leading edge research talent in the case customer acquisition that much less complex as compared of Dr.
Reddy’s and consulting skills and talent in the to, say, the FMCG industry. case of Infosys) than scale. Significant components of the value chain of these companies are located in India. And, rightly so, considering the fact that they are essentially leveraging the country advantage of low cost—both for manufacturing operations and talented human resources. The A final interesting characteristic of this new genre of companies is the visible influence they seem to be subtly wielding over each other.
Perhaps because they are, by global standards, individually (and collectively! ) small, or perhaps because they are so few in number in INDIAN COMPANIES IN OVERSEAS MARKETS 98 98 a large country like ours, or perhaps because the country toehold in these markets. Fourth, to do what it takes to as a whole is looking up to them as a group of pioneers win. Specifically, it requires a willingness to learn and who are making an impact on the global markets, or invest in the development of the requisite competencies. erhaps because of the significant recognition accorded Finally, and most importantly, to focus on building an to them by a very competitive media organization that constantly seeks to which has given them a near iconic innovatively exploit opportunities In addition to the status, peer level competition seems to that the global markets offer as the traditional stimuli of spur the managements of these companies firms in the software industry did. opportunity exploitation on!
Thus, in addition to the traditional What next for the new genre of and capability leverage, stimuli of opportunity exploitation Indian companies? Their achievepeer influence that is pan and capability leverage, peer ments are commendable. They have industry in character influence that is pan industry in attained critical mass. That gives seems to drive Indian character seems to drive Indian firms them a platform. They would need firms to go overseas! to go overseas! to convert this platform into a springWhat is the message from the board.
That calls for them to go performance of this new genre of companies for the rest beyond leveraging country-specific advantage of low of the Indian industry, especially the large companies cost and develop firm-specific advantages, preferably that dot the country’s industrial landscape? First, it can one that is anchored in intellectual capital. Cost and be done. Second, it calls for something more than quality competitiveness have today become qualifying visionary leadership. It requires commitment to compete conditions.
Intellectual competitiveness, competitiveness in the advanced markets of the world. Third, to choose anchored in difficult-to-imitate knowledge, defines the market segments that offer opportunities to gain a rapid winning conditions. LEVERAGE INDIA ADVANTAGE THROUGH GLOCAL APPROACH Habil F Khorakiwala Chairman & MD, Wockhardt Ltd. Mumbai T he single biggest driver behind the globalization become globally competitive. Good policies often beget of Indian companies is the liberalization process unforeseen beneficial consequences.
Overseas companies, ushered by the government in the early 1990s. which came to India to tap the large Indian middle class Liberalization did several things. market, discovered India’s potential High tariff walls were lowered, as a low cost but skilled production Our management costs, encouraging imports and opening up base to tap overseas markets. Autoour scientists, our legal the domestic market to international mobiles and auto component indusbrains — all of competition. Foreign companies were tries are perhaps the best examples. nternational calibre — encouraged to set up shop in India Companies like Hyundai have made offer a cost to value exposing Indian companies to global India a global hub for small cars. proposition that cannot products and practices. Liberabe found anywhere else The realization of India Advanlization also allowed more Indians to in the world. Even tage emboldened Indian companies travel abroad for business and overseas companies have to aggressively explore offshore pleasure. recognized the India markets. Let me give the example of Advantage. All this led to a great churn in the pharmaceutical industry.
The the Indian industry—on the one cost of setting up a modern pharhand, companies started upgrading maceutical plant in India would be quality of their products to compete with the world’s one-sixth of what an identical plant in Europe or the US best; at the same time, they innovated to cut costs and would cost. It is not a question of wages as often made VIKALPA • VOLUME 29 • NO 4 • OCTOBER – DECEMBER 2004 99 99 out. Our management costs, our scientists, our legal brains — all of international calibre — offer a cost to value proposition that cannot be found anywhere else in the world.
Even overseas companies have recognized the India Advantage. Leading overseas generic pharmaceutical companies like Teva and Sandoz have set up shop in India to leverage the India Advantage. and the US over the last 10 years. I do not think any other country can compare with India against this backdrop, not even China. ‘Going global’ and ‘Going international’ are entirely different. For going ‘global,’ one requires a global mindset and global aspirations. Becoming ‘international’ historically meant supplying out of India. You do not have to be globally competitive in the true sense to export out of India.
In some areas, you may not be globally competitive. Going international only means leveraging some country and company advantages to tap overseas markets. That does not make you a global organization. These advantages may not last long. It is a slow, limited process of growth. You can fumble. You can be rebuffed. Your terms of reference are different. In one case, you are investing for long-term global competitiveness. You can be an international player without having a global mindset and without creating a global organizational system. India’s high value, highly competitive resources offer potential in the global market.
But, what helped India harness this potential and catapult us to the global stage is Indian entrepreneurship. Our entrepreneurs, many of them first generation businessmen, have been the driving force behind globalization. Look at the pharmaceutical industry — India accounts for less than two per cent of the world market in value terms, despite the fact that we are the fourth largest in volume terms. No ambitious entrepreneur in the pharmaceutical industry can grow big unless he ventures out of India to Europe and India’s high value, highly the US, the world’s largest and the Indian pharmaceutical industry most sophisticated markets.
Comcompetitive resources has one of the world’s richest resourpanies like Ranbaxy, Dr. Reddy’s, offer potential in the ces — in manufacturing, research and Wockhardt could not have global market. But, what capabilities, and entrepreneurship. grown to what it is today if they had helped India harness this Our industry has capacities and not successfully tapped global potential and catapult us capabilities across the value chain markets. Against the backdrop of to the global stage is and, what is more, we are costIndia joining the global patent Indian entrepreneurship. ompetitive across the value chain. regime with effect from January We have taken two approaches in 2005, today, every player in the our quest to become a global orgapharmaceutical industry is looking at harnessing its nization. One pertains to our acquisitions. The second inherent strengths to global advantage as a matter of pertains to the larger issue of creating a global growth as well as survival. organization. In the case of acquisitions, we follow a Each nation has its country as well as industryspecific advantages which it tries to leverage.
India is a significant manufacturing base for the pharmaceutical industry — we are the world’s fourth largest producer of pharmaceuticals in volume terms. Indian companies live in an intensely competitive environment. Most Indian companies make their own bulk actives. After liberalization, Indian companies have built R&D capabilities that have enhanced their innovative ability. Indian pharmaceutical industry today is a knowledge intensive industry. Indian companies also have the advantage of access to the Global Indian — scientists of Indian origin play a significant role in leading pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies worldwide.
Indian companies have acquired over 15 companies in Europe ‘glocal’ approach. When it comes to management processes, manufacturing, information technology, human resources and supply chain, we follow a uniform system that is global. This helped Wockhardt become a globally competitive, seamless organization across geographies. We get the value of efficiencies borne out of global buying. We do not have to reinvent the wheel. The same language of management thinking rules the entire organization. At the same time, we follow a local approach when it comes to sales and marketing.
In each market, whether it is the UK or Germany, distribution systems and the like are dynamically different. So when it comes to sales and marketing, our approach is customized for local markets. As far as the US is concerned, we have created INDIAN COMPANIES IN OVERSEAS MARKETS 100 100 an organization called Wockhardt USA, Inc. that handles sales, marketing, regulatory affairs, and IPRs. Wockhardt’s Indian operations serve as the research and sourcing hub for the American organization. We follow a similar approach in Russia and South American countries like Brazil.
Same is the case in Africa. In other countries, we export out of India with sales and marketing people stationed in these markets. ESCHEW SHORT CUTS AND RETAIN THE INDIAN ‘DNA’ Jerry Rao Chairman & CEO, Mphasis Ltd. Bangalore F or the Indian companies operating in IT and allied by these intrepid adventurers, and so on. sectors, the markets overseas are the primary ones As students of economic history, we must realize and going overseas is not a choice but an essential that there is nothing unique about our actions or motives. pre-condition of being in business.
It makes sense for We too go in search of markets, market shares, revenues, American companies to talk about going overseas or for inputs, and profits. We are no different than Dutch or that matter about not going overseas. They have such Swiss or Japanese or Korean companies all of whom have a big domestic market that it is entirely possible to grow gone in search of the ‘bigger pie,’ having decided that without going overseas. Given the small pigmy-sized their domestic wells were too small for them. Being domestic markets we have and if we accept the truism followers, we are lucky.
We can and we should study that the absence of growth will lead the empirical data on the successes to decay, Indian companies have no and failures of our professional choice except to pursue growth ‘Going overseas’ is not an forebears. aggressively beyond our borders. option, going ‘global’ is Some findings are obvious: if Incidentally, the reverse is possible. an imperative if the you genuinely seek global posiAn Indian company can focus almost Indian company seeks tioning and global market shares, exclusively on overseas markets and rowth. If it seeks global then the interim steps of joint vengrow handsomely. Many Indian IT market relevance, it has tures and partnerships are out. They companies have followed this to be in its own right are meant for those who see the strategy. In the days of the permitbuilding and flaunting its outside world as peripheral, as good licence raj, the regulators of the own brands. Partnerships for a low risk flutter, not as crucial ubiquitous Indian state almost and JVs will not do. n the search for global importance always insisted that Indian com(did I whisper the expression global panies should set up capacities to dominance? ). Those who drop the expressions ‘domestic’ ‘meet’ the demands of the domestic market. Going and ‘overseas’ and opt for the phrase ‘global markets’ overseas, literally even travelling overseas was a torture have no choice but to venture out as full-fledged hundred as ‘scarce’ foreign exchange was only doled out for percent owned/controlled branches and subsidiaries government-approved missions. ith overarching global brands. Having spent close to half a century in a hothouse As far as culture is concerned, it seems to me that atmosphere, we find ourselves ill-equipped to deal with the world outside our desi cocoon, hence the prevailing the attempts to alter an organization’s DNA in order to meet the so-called prescriptive needs of overseas markets academic and journalistic interest in the phenomenon will be a serious mistake. Organizations have to be of Indian companies going overseas.
At one end of the faithful to their core DNA if they wish to succeed. This discussion is the legal structure, the choice of branches, does not mean that the genetic code does not evolve, with subsidiaries, joint ventures, greenfield ventures or time and with unfolding of the organization as it grows acquisitions and so on. At the other end is the so-called issue of ‘culture’ — what is the culture we need to and spreads out much in the way that a biological organism does. succeed overseas; what are the unique challenges faced
VIKALPA • VOLUME 29 • NO 4 • OCTOBER – DECEMBER 2004 101 101 ‘Going overseas’ is not an option, going ‘global’ is an imperative if the Indian company seeks growth. If it seeks global market relevance, it has to be in its own right building and flaunting its own brands. Partnerships and JVs will not do. The culture of the organization must be faithful to its genetic make-up — the ingredients that have been created so far — but must adapt to the new growing, expanding global habitat where the company now chooses to live and try to succeed.
A mixture of metaphors with a streak of audacity in it …. a starting point of the journey. SOUND PARTNER AIDS REACHING RETAIL CUSTOMER Pramod Khera Managing Director, Aptech Ltd. Mumbai I ndian companies are looking at the overseas markets where brand building and distribution are critical for because they have understood that success in the their success. domestic market does not ensure sustained success. Aptech pioneered, along with New Delhi-based Globalization does not just mean that there are NIIT, the IT education in private sector.
The intent was opportunities for Indian companies outside the Indian to exploit the gap between the fast growing demand for shores that they can exploit; it also means that global IT professionals and the output of formal education companies have opportunities in India. The Indian market sector. The franchisee and centre approach provided the is increasingly becoming global and Indian companies wherewithal and impetus for rapid expansion from have to succeed domestically and globally if they want around 1990. Aptech increased its network to cover most to survive and grow.
Hence, in many of the country and set up the first cases, international businesses are overseas centre in Bahrain in 1994. International businesses being developed by Indian comThe major breakthrough was China are being developed by panies in order to gain economies of where Aptech entered into a 50:50 Indian companies in scale and to de-risk their depenjoint venture with Beijing Beida Jade order to gain economies dencies on limited domestic geoBird Company, an associate of Beijing of scale and to de-risk graphies and markets vis-a-vis their University.
Today, Aptech’s internatheir dependencies on global competitors. tional operations account for about limited domestic one-third of the business with close Companies from the lessgeographies and markets to 300 international centres. developed countries, like India, face a difficult and challenging task in Aptech’s foray in the Chinese competitors. going international but not an market has been a highly successful impossible one. There are examples one aided to a large extent through of successful companies from developing countries like its strong joint venture partner.
The joint venture — with Taiwan’s Acer (tiny start-up electronics consulting Aptech providing the model of education, course content, company growing into one of the world’s largest and managerial guidance and the Chinese partner looking manufacturer of PCs), Mexico’s Cemex (competing with after government regulations and day-to-day manaworld players in the cement industry), Philippine’s gement — is guided through board meetings with Aptech Jollybee (taking on McDonald’s across the world), Brazil’s charing the joint venture.
Aptech has approximately 110 Weg in the electrical motors market and India’s Ranbaxy, centres in 57 cities and has trained over 50,000 students Infosys, TCS, and Wipro. The Indian companies menin Mandarin. It is present in 20 of the 26 provinces in tioned above have built strong international businesses China and some of the best companies, both related to on a powerful value proposition — competitive quality IT and otherwise, have selected Aptech students for their at low costs. These companies have operated in a direct companies.
Some of the learnings that can help companies selling environment where decision-making is by succeed in China are as follows: corporations based on a rational buying process. They • Partner: If a company is contemplating entering do not operate in markets like FMCG or IT education vis-a-vis their global 102 INDIAN COMPANIES IN OVERSEAS MARKETS 102 China with a partner, selecting a partner with credibility and standing is important. The government has an undoubted hold on all enterprise. Hence, a partner with linkages with the government is the most ideal.
Beijing Beida (Beijing University) is a premier education institution in China. It has a good local standing and reputation. Beijing Beida Jade Bird Company, Aptech’s joint venture partner, is an equally focused and receptive partner. • move up the value chain and keep ahead of competition. This has also helped retain and build the partner’s dependability on Aptech. • Merge in local milieu: Whilst India is known for its software and IT supremacy in the media, Aptech has been positioned as a local player with the best quality and understanding and not as an Indian company. • • Local knowledge is power: The Chinese believe that • Negotiations: Doing business in China is all about negotiating. There are three stages of doing business most foreigners do not understand them and their — pre-negotiation, formal negotiation, and postcountry, and that is why they do not succeed. negotiation. The pre-negotiation stage includes Succeeding in China is all about understanding the presentations, lobbying, and trust building.
Formal country — its history and its past (in terms of negotiation involves task-related exchange of communism, Maoism, closed economy), psyche and information, persuasion, concessions, and mentality (follow the leader, never question the agreement. Generally speaking, the Chinese honour governance, limited risk taking ability, lack of an their agreement and commitment. entrepreneu- rial culture), However, being a very large country culture and social framework Building downstream with its experimental nature of (traditions, tradi- tions, and capabilities, knowledge of reforms, unevenly developed more traditions, e. . , signifimarket, local laws, and infrastructure, scarce natural recance of colours, toasting a drink sources per capita, and large client relationships are with a boss), and political envibureaucracy makes most people essential but developing ronment (communism and burwant to keep re-negotiating these can be expensive eaucracy). situations. Hence, very often, with for an organization. Language: Some knowledge of the signing of an agreement only Mandarin would always be begins the process of negotiations in useful, both to impress as well as to comprehend. China.
Most Chinese can read and write some amount of In conclusion, the oft-repeated cliche — ‘Think English, but lack the confidence to speak it, especially Global, Act Local’ — has been one of the biggest learnings in front of a foreigner. Hence, negotiations in English for Aptech in its global, especially Chinese quest. Aptech put the Chinese at a slight disadvantage. has moved beyond being an education franchiser and Localization: In terms of products offered (courses), has moved up the value chain with new technological the method of delivery (example-based learning), and educational innovations, i. . , content services and and the medium of delivery (language), adaptation ‘online portal development. ‘ of the business model to local market conditions Building downstream capabilities, knowledge of the also assumes significance. Understanding the target market, local laws, and client relationships are essential audience helps in the localization effort. In China, Aptech found that the students were more attuned but developing these can be expensive for an organization. to step-by-step thinking and not multi-tasking.
Franchising provides a very effective method for Accordingly, the pedagogy of the curriculum design acquiring downstream capabilities and penetrating a was amended to address these learning objectives. market effectively. Strategic alliances like the one with Beijing Beida in China have brought in a new perspective Moving up the value chain: Schools and colleges to Aptech, especially about the recognition of role that have been licensed content and provided support it is playing in developing the education and IT infrasfor classroom delivery. This has enabled Aptech to tructure in the host countries.
VIKALPA • VOLUME 29 • NO 4 • OCTOBER – DECEMBER 2004 103 103 IS INDIA’S MARKETING MUSCLE EXPORTABLE? Niraj Dawar Nabisco Professor of Marketing Richard Ivey School of Management University of Western Ontario, Canada I nfosys is building a global brand. The effort is differentiate India from other emerging economies such noteworthy not only because there are so few as China and Russia. Those markets have only recently successful Indian brands on the world stage but also reformed their centrally planned economies. They lack because it represents a marriage of two of India’s key a history of marketing.
Even a few years ago, few competences — information technology and marketing. Russian or Chinese brands had been built on the strength Indeed, India has enormous marketing talent and a of marketing (although that is changing rapidly) and reasonably good track record of building brands locally. multinational firms operating there still tend to employ Nirma, Bajaj, Titan, Mother Dairy, and Dabur are expatriate managers to handle marketing strategy and complemented by Lifebuoy, Lipton, Dettol, and Colgate planning. Indian managers, by contrast, are strong on as brands built in India by the Indian talent. The marketing. arketing of these brands has always been local even Yet, India’s marketing strength is conspicuously if the products and the initial brand concepts for some absent from the global stage. If India of them were imported. In recent has such abundant marketing talent, years, as liberalized imports have why have so few Indian brands It is not surprising that opened the market to a flood of new ventured abroad? Why have Indian even the most centralized entrants, many a business has been companies not leveraged their foreign companies launched and grown on its marketing marketing advantage to compete entering India quickly acumen.
The business of consumer internationally? Why do Indian learn to entrust marketing electronics, for example, has Onida, brands not adorn the shelves of to local managers and Videocon, and Baron International supermarkets in consuming that the most savvy building businesses on the strength countries? Why do Indian goods international marketers of their marketing while relying still compete as commodities in pricequickly come to entirely on ‘outsourced’ R&D and driven markets at the bottom of the recognize the formidable manufacturing from companies such value curve?
What prevents Indian local competition they as Sony and Samsung. The computer companies from leveraging their hardware business is another face in India. marketing competences outside of example of business models founded India? on downstream activities — marketing, sales, distribution, and afterAside from the usual rich-country predilection for sales service. All of this marketing activity has led to protectionism, two inter-related reasons come to mind: a considerable pool of marketing talent and capital among knowledge and means. Marketing is a downstream Indian firms and managers.
It is not surprising then that activity that requires intimate knowledge of the market. even the most centralized foreign companies entering For the same reason that multinationals operating in India quickly learn to entrust marketing to local managers India prefer to hire Indian managers, these managers’ and that the most savvy international marketers quickly talents do not necessarily translate abroad. The Indian come to recognize the formidable local competition they managers’ marketing knowledge and knowledge of the face in India. Indian marketers know not just marketing; Indian market are intermeshed.
Separating them and they also know their market. They are not just a less applying the marketing knowledge to a foreign market expensive resource than expatriate managers; they are is not easy. This is not to say that Indian managers better at marketing in India. cannot learn about foreign markets, but rather that On the global stage, these marketing strengths clearly learning is an expensive activity that requires tremendous INDIAN COMPANIES IN OVERSEAS MARKETS 104 104 commitment and large investment. Opportunistic exports and market entry ithout a long-term brand building plan are not conducive to building that foreign-market knowledge. Indian brands may be formidable competitors locally, but abroad, where they are unknown entities, they have to work very hard to stand out in a crowded field. Indian managers do have the marketing talent to sell abroad but they lack the means to establish brands in markets where media are fragmented and do not come cheap; any decent share of voice requires a substantial investment. Brand building requires enormous fixed investment before a single unit of the product is sold.
This means, the brand builders must not only have deep pockets but a considerable appetite for risk. Few Indian firms have been willing to take the bet. This is not surprising. There is a chicken-and-egg problem here. It is not easy to take on the costs of building a brand abroad without prior experience in brand building in foreign markets. So is Infosys making a huge mistake? I would not bet on it. Betting against Infosys has not been a profitable game in recent Indian managers do have years. Infosys has certain advanBut what of the parade of strong the marketing talent to tages.
It is building a brand in an Indian brands? Well, what of them? sell abroad but they lack industry in which the needs of Despite satellite television and the means to establish customers are fairly uniform across spillover of other media to other brands in markets where the world. Its brand needs little countries, Indian brands have dismal media are fragmented and adaptation for different country awareness and even more limited do not come cheap, and markets, reducing the costs and risks appeal to consumers there. In the any decent share of voice of brand building.
The company Persian Gulf region, Indian brands knows the needs of its customers requires a substantial may look like they are doing well, and has already made a significant investment. but this is brand leveraging, not operational commitment to delibrand building. Indian brands in the vering to world-class norms. BrandGulf region rely on awareness and loyalty created in the building is a natural extension of this functional ability. home market. They are simply exporting to consumers Infosys is already a credible player in the global market. ho have been previously exported to these markets. Therefore, brand-building is as much a means of To truly do well abroad, the brands would need to be consolidating its position as it is of attracting new (re)built to suit the requirements of local consumers in customers. Finally, Infosys has the deep pockets required foreign markets. This is far more expensive than the and is willing to take a bet not just on its superior brand leveraging currently practised. Few Indian brands product/service offering but on its marketing talent. ave succeeded in replicating their home market success Will its branding lead be followed by Indian firms outside abroad. Even Titan Watch’s valiant attempt to build a the information technology space? brand in Europe disappointed. ASPIRATIONS OF GLOBAL LEADERSHIP IN MANUFACTURING B N Kalyani Chairman & MD, Bharat Forge Ltd. Pune harat Forge Limited’s (BFL) journey towards becoming an international player began in 1997. Three factors determined our need to go global. First, we appreciated what globalization could do to improve quality, delivery, costs, supply chain, R&D, productivity, and business processes.
We, therefore, wanted to venture out and learn best practices. Second, while we had sufficient faith in domestic demand, we VIKALPA • VOLUME 29 • NO 4 • OCTOBER – DECEMBER 2004 B wanted to grow beyond the Indian market. Third, we recognized that different geographies often follow separate business cycles. We wanted to not only reduce our over-dependence on a single market but also take advantage of different growth opportunities across varying geographies. Now, we are India’s only forging company supplying globally and the country’s largest exporter of auto components. 05 105 Contrary to popular perception, outsourcing is not limited to IT. In the emerging international scenario, the potential for growth of global outsourcing in manufacturing could very well outstrip that in IT and IT related services. In this, automobile components play an important role. Moreover, most automotive OEMs and their Tier-1 suppliers have begun to understand the ‘India Advantage’ in auto components as well as other products that have relatively high engineering and design content. We feel well positioned to leverage these outsourcing opportunities. become a global base for exports of manufactured goods (e. g. , auto components), build Indian MNCs (e. g. , Infosys, Ranbaxy) enhance competency levels (e. g. , manufacturing clusters at Surat — gems and jewellery; Tirupur — Textiles; Pune — Auto components) radically improve quality of infrastructure (e. g. , telecom, roads, power, ports) design conducive government policies (e. g. , Special Economic Zones to overcome constraints, of infrastructure, e. g. , labour and be the means to attract huge domestic and foreign investments). • • • •
Bharat Forge has the largest single location commercial forging facility in the world and we are moving up the value chain — from raw forging to machined components and to more complex subGovernment and industry have to build a strong assemblies. In early stages, the approach was to increase partnership and create conditions for Indian companies market size by exporting to overseas markets. However, to become global MNCs. The Japanese have been in the recent past, the company started realizing the need particularly successful in this and we can emulate their to have international manufacturing facilities — example.
Today it is a matter of great pride and especially in Europe, where autosatisfaction for Japan to see Toyota mobile companies prefer component Motor Corporation, which till a few Government and industry manufacturers to be located close to decades ago was a fledging company, have to build a strong their factories. In early 2004, we to be ranked the second largest partnership and create acquired a German forging company automobile company in the world. If conditions for Indian which provides close synergies in Toyota could do it, I see no reason companies to become terms of production facilities, why at least five to six Indian global MNCs. eographical coverage, and customer companies cannot acquire global base. This acquisition makes us the leadership in their businesses in the second largest forging company in the world. It also next ten years. provides us access to the huge market for passenger car components that will synergize with our strong global Innovation is the key to real growth and unassailable presence in engine and axle components for medium and competitiveness. To produce more growth per dollar heavy commercial vehicles. f investment, a company must produce more innovation Moving on to Indian industry as a whole, the ten basics to compete in the global market are: • • • • • produce world class quality (e. g. , software, pharmaceuticals, auto component, etc. ) build international scale capacities (e. g. , Bajaj Auto, Hero Honda, TVS), leverage India’s low cost advantage (e. g. , software, pharmaceuticals, auto components) develop strong product development capabilities (e. g. , Indica, Scorpio) expand size of domestic market to provide foundation for exports (e. g. , Bajaj Auto, Indica) • per dollar of investment.
Companies can improve innovation efficiencies by: • raising the ratio of innovations to total number of employees (foster a culture in which innovation is encouraged across the organization and not restricted to only the R department) raising the ratio of radical innovation to incremental innovation by focusing on changes that change customer expectations and behaviour (e. g. , wireless money transfer), basis of competitive advantage (e. g. , digital cameras) or industry economics (e. g. , no frills airlines) raising the ratio of learning over investment in INDIAN COMPANIES IN OVERSEAS MARKETS 106 106 innovation projects (focus on effective locations for production — Forces of globalization — low cost experimentation vis-acan make India a huge global the search for more costvis high cost product testing and manufacturing and supply base. We effective locations for development). are the only country that can compete production — can make The key enabler for competiwith China with some important India a huge global tiveness for Indian companies is our advantages — a more familiar and large capacity of ‘brain power. This predictable legal system, better manufacturing and supply needs to be carefully nurtured and protection of IPRs, and strong English base. expanded. Other factors that will language skills. In auto components, contribute to our competitiveness are Indian companies are projected to be emphasis on IT-based technologies in manufacturing, able to meet 35 per cent of the global demand for auto engineering, and product development and training to components by 2015. Several other sectors hold the same improve marketing skills required to create delivery promise. The world is beginning to believe in India; we systems for global customers. eed to believe in our ability to compete, perform, and Forces of globalization — the search for more cost- succeed! CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS Rajnish Karki T he contributions present an extensive exploration of the phenomenon of ‘Indian companies in overseas markets,’ which is multi-faceted in terms of activities and issues and is variegated among industries and companies. As the proportion of Indian companies engaging substantively with overseas markets is not more than a tenth, and for these too the experience is less than a decade long, these are very early stages of the phenomenon.
However, the breakthroughs and aspirations of Indian companies that have ventured overseas portend major two-way engagement between Indian business and the world economy. The context of overseas expansion of Indian companies is different either with respect to American and European companies or Japanese and Korean companies and so the process will be unique and could be unprecedented in terms of pace and impact. The Colloquium does identify some issues and patterns. These are analysed for extending and drawing implications and for addressing apparent contradictions.
Major conclusions on the phenomenon of ‘Indian companies in the overseas markets,’ which can be converged upon are as follows: • From comparative to competitive advantage: Historically or till about 1990, the engagement of Indian companies with overseas markets was with the export of traditional products like tea, coffee, iron ore, leather, apparel, gems and jewellery, etc. These were based on natural endowments or on first-level comparative advantages of India and the companies played a role of little more than intermediaries or traders.
There was a shift during the previous decade when companies found and deployed second-level advantages — availability, lower cost, and skills of the technical and scientific manpower in India. The second-level advantages, though comparative in nature, required creation of complementary capabilities in sales and marketing and in production systems which needed to be evolved within the companies or firms. Software companies that primarily operated with posting of professionals in overseas assignments or ‘body shopping’ till the mid-1990s started moving to projects and offshore production units by late-1990s.
As a result, companies moved beyond India-based comparative advantages to create firm-based ‘competitive advantages. ‘ The competitive advantages are more expandable in terms of scale and scope as they are governed by the competencies developed within a company and the aspirations of its top management. The trajectories are relatively similar in case of pharmaceuticals and auto components companies, though on a smaller VIKALPA • VOLUME 29 • NO 4 • OCTOBER – DECEMBER 2004 107 107 agnitude and with a lag of few years, and many other industries are likely to mo