Some years ago, to be precise, in the year 1991, one new Prime Minister, whose name was Naramsimha Rao, did what no Prime Minsiter has ever done --- he simply opened the gates of India, to what is now famously called "globalization".  One of the important steps that he took was to initiate the process of privatization, though partly of the banking, insurance, and the telecom sectors.

He had his usual enemies even in his own Congress Party.  But he had one superb Finance Minister, whose name was Dr Manmohan Singh.  What they did together, will now be found in business history books, if not in anything else.

For, the results are there for all to see.  Look at every street corner of India, and even in the most tiny of villages with a population of some six thousand people.  You will find at least one cell phone shop or a grocery dealer, who will also do what we now call "easy charge".  BSNL, the State provider is far behind the likes of Aitel or Vadaphone.

Critics have all become silent -- particularly from the Communist parties.  The cost of telecommunication is now down, and the landlines are now being surrendered like never before.  BSNL is now into schemes to attract people to use landlines and retain them.

Cut to the main hero of this story -- a company called Airtel.  With the most advanced technologies and now with the latest offering called 4G, this company is one of the Starts of the Indian Corporate World.  This company has taken the entire world by storm.  It has expanded abroad, and the pace of growth has been stupendous.

There are success stories elsewhere too.  If we look at some success stories, we can understand where we are.

Let us look at the car industry.  The market leader, Maruthi Udyog has given importance to quality, design, fuel efficiency, and has also given importance to the servic network.  The rest, as we say, is history.  What needs to be understood from the Maruthi story is that the customer, the Indian customer, wants a total package.  He is not satisfied with just the product, because India is India.  We still drive on bad roads, and with holes and we need vehicles that can bear all the wear and tear. 

So, we need the Maruthi type of vehicles.  However, let us not forget that another excellent company, under the leadership of Ratan Tata, its former big boss, went about giving good and tough competition to Maruthi.  The company called Tata Motors, introduced a model called Indica, which had teething problems.  All the problems were sorted out and the vehicle ia s roaring success.  In fact, Indica now forms the backbone of the Indian tourism market, as the previous hero of that market --- called Ambassador -- is no more produced at all.  The old Ambassadors will be slowly phased out, even in Kolkatta, where they are still around.

So, we also learn that there is enough scope for competitors.  It is in the same market that a foreign company called Hyndai, with its plant at Chennai, has grown to have the second largest market share after Maruthi, with its own brand of good vehicles.  Tata Motors is fighting out there, in the third position. 

Ford, BMW, Volkswagen, Renault Nissan -- are all there too, and most of them have base in Chennai, the detroit of India.  Superb emphasis on design has helped these companies survive and build their own niches.

So, being close to the consumer, understanding the peculiar conditions of the Indian market are also very important to survive in India.

In the light vehicles segment, after a huge loss of five hundred crores in one particular year, Tata Motors sunk several crores producing one of the finest vehicles India and Indian roads have ever seen -- the Tata Ace.  It is advertised as the  "Kutti yaanai" in Tamil, which translates into little elephant.  This vehicle is now shareed autos in most roads of India, and in particular, roads of Chennai.

So, innovation in new products is also essential to survive in the Indian market.  There are other innovations too.  In the Small Utility Vehicle segment, Mahindra and Mahindra created history by introducing a superb vehicle called the Scorpio. This became the largest selling vehicle in its category, and since then, the same company has also introduced various other products, all of which have taken the entire world by storm.

Cut to the Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) industry, and what one can learn, is now forming a series of case studies in the best of B schools in the world.  The most famous of them, is the toughest competition given by M/s Cavinkare Pvt Limited, of Chenai, to the likes of the mighty Hindustan Unilever and Proctor and Gamble.  The company introduced the Chik shampoo in the sachet packet segment, and this created history of sorts.  It is till today, the largest selling sachet packet product in the shampoo segment, in India. 

Marico Industries, a Mumbai based company has also successfully introduced a whole range of new products.  Each of these products have also succeeded very well.

So, innovation can happen in India too.  In the dot com business, an Indian company called Flipkart, is now fighting it out with the likes of Amazon, the American giant, and is doing very well.

Infosys, WIPRO, HCL, and the Tata Consultancy Services have all grown from within our country, and have expanded abroad, particularly in China, which is now considered India's major competitor.  

Indian companies have lived with all the laws, all the regulations, all the politicians, all the problems like irregular power supply, and have still succceeded in India, which is a stupendous achievement in itself.  What needs to be understood is that the Indian spirit of entrepreneurship, is aliive and kicking.  This journey to excellence is still evolving.

The whole world has become a global village, but the cost of doing business in India, is still very high.  Every Indian business does raise the prices every now and then, and this is true of the multinational companies also, as they simply pass on the increased cost of doing business, to the ultimate customer. 

However, with rising incomes all these problems are likely to be set right, and in the years to come, the Indian companies will continue to do well and break all barriers.

In conclusiion, it can be stated that completely understanding the Indian customer, manufacturing products that reflect such needs or wants and then making innovations have all been made possible by Indian companies.  However, this success story is still on, and the learning will also evolve with the times.


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