China Tech Left in the Dark for India

Posted by Feds on March 24, 2010

It’s no secret that China is strong in manufacturing, engineering and massive infrastructure projects. India is better at information technology and services. Google has effectively left China, whereas it has a strong presence in Hyderabad. Now, Facebook too, is setting up shop in India. China should take note. Facebook came to China to check out the feasibility of opening up a Chinese office a couple of years back, but figured that government censorship and restrictions would prove too much of a burden. So big deal, India gets (another) social media site doing business within its borders.

Yet these are the markers of a trend, a trend that I thought was over-pronounced by some – that India is democratic, creative and service-oriented, whereas China’s only good at making things others have designed. China doesn’t really give a shit that will go the way of the dodo bird. Frankly, I’m sure it wants to protect its own and only deal with internet search engines that censor what it deems ‘inappropriate’ to its oh-so-impressionable public, like anything regarding separatism, unhappy minorities, massacres, anti-party rhetoric, and porn. But will China’s tech sector really blossom in isolation? I doubt it. Keep up the copying China.

India, on the other hand, is poised. Poised and ready to have a say in whether this is ‘China’s century’ or one in which power in Asia is relative. Time is on India’s side, as it is growing quickly, youthful, and dynamic while China is aging, and frankly, looks decisively passé if it really can’t do business with Google. India has its share of problems, no doubt about it. But a country that welcomes freedom of information has got to have an advantage down the road in terms of education, innovation, and entrepreneurship.

It really is a shame that China’s government lacks self-confidence and is too immature to admit mistakes and have an open and free internet. I think there is so much potential here in fields like green energy, cinema & animation, and even aerospace. In the long run the threat of arbitrary policing, corruption and government strictures may scare many foreign companies out of the largest market on earth. (Though see here).

I’ve seen so many signs in the past few months that my time in China should be up, and I think Google leaving (or redirecting, to be precise) is one of them. Perhaps it is time to redirect to India. For now, I’m on the way back to Canada, but am quite assuredly stating that India is the next country I want to learn. That’s right, I said ‘learn,’ not ‘learn about.’ I came to China to learn; because it’s a Superpower To Be. And I love this country, but think I’ve had enough for now. It’s still developing like mad, but I don’t feel it’s where the action is anymore. Maybe it’s just to harmonized for me.

Get on the India train,

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