In 2003, when Shivaprasad Naik, chief representative of Reliance Industries wen to China for the first time, there were merely 250 Indians in the Chinese nation. However, by 2008 the scenario was very different with China boasting a population of at least 2000 Indians. According to Naik, it took a while for Indians to get over their negative perception about China. The phenomenal growth achieved by China in the 90s played an important role in Chinese leadership entering Indian business.
Naik said that lack of talent within the management sector in China created a demand for the Indian. The adaptability factor showed by the Indian migrants and some level of cultural familiarity with the Orient coupled with Western sensibilities in management helped them blend well in China.
Many other corporate honchos such as Rajeev Chopra, MD & CEO, Philips Electronics India and Manishi Sanwal, general manager, LVMH Watch and Jewellery echo the sentiments of Naik. Both second the cultural similarity and friendliness factor. According to Manishi Sanwal knowing just about basic Mandarin can help one easily sail through transport and everyday shopping.
Sumeet Chander, China country manager for Evalueserve emphasizes on the importance of a short term assignment in China on a managers resume. He has spent a good amount of 6 years in China since he first arrived there and now runs a KPO operation with strength of 240 employees. He stated that although he’d like to return to India someday, currently he was in no hurry whatsoever.
Topics such as Buddhism, Bollywood, Indian Culture and the Software Industry generate a lot of curiosity in China. In Smita Anand’s experience being a woman holding an important managerial post is a rather fine experience to go through in China. She is currently president of iDiscoveri Leadership and has earlier led Hewitt Associates' China, and later Asia Pacific operations.
The software industry has become a lucrative sector for the Chinese to gain employment within. Among 30,000 Chinese candidates employed with Indian firms about 10,000 – 15,000 are within IT. Rangarajan Vellamore CEO of Infosys China praises the speed at which the Chinese government works. Due to his nature of work, he happened to interact a lot with the government. He states the importance of understanding their way of working and showcasing the value that one is bringing in.
According to Chander if one is adaptable, open minded and ready to mingle with another culture by taking care of a few nitty grittys then such as individual will be very sought after within the Chinese culture. In China the concept of Guanxi - referring to a system of mutual influence and favours, works wonders.