In their latest book, Gupta and Wang note that, “Starkly put, China and India are changing the rules of the game” and many of the changes that have occurred in recent years are especially significant. The tasks are still important. However, with reference to the title of this book, Gupta and Wang point out that “being present in China and India [completing various tasks, however worthy they may be] is not the same as getting China and India right.” What to do must be determined by different perspectives and they are the focus of this book.
Hence the importance of fully understanding that only these two countries in the world “simultaneously constitute four stories rolled into one, each of them with the potential to be game changing in its own right.” The authors’ use of the word “game” in Chapter 1 is apt because it denotes players, opponents, and field(s) of competition, rules, officials, and scores. The word also connotes relevant mental and physical skills, practice, preparation, and engagement with opponents. Given these meanings and implications of “game,” now consider the stories “rolled into one,” any one of which could be a game changer, if viewed from these perspectives: “(1) China and India as megamarkets for almost every product and service, (2)…as platforms to dramatically reduce a company’s global cost structure, (3)…as platforms to significantly boost a company’s global technology and innovation base, and (4)…as the springboards for the emergence of a new breed of fearsome global competitors.” Gupta and Haiyan Wang explain why building robust strategies for both countries requires that the company doing so address each of the four “stories” head-on.”
Readers will also appreciate how carefully Gupta and Wang organize and then present their material, especially their core concepts and key insights. In Chapter 4, f or example, when explaining how to leverage both China and India for global advantage, they suggest that there are “three primary dimensions along which China and India are becoming central to global competitive advantage for a rapidly growing number of companies across a wide range of industries: cost arbitrage, talent arbitrage, and innovation. Each of the three sources of competitive advantage can be hugely important on its own. [That is also true of China and India.] However, if they can be leveraged in tandem, the impact can be especially powerful.”
They then create a statistical context, a frame-of-reference, for seven specific recommendations for making decisions and taking actions along several fronts (on Pages 107-108) when leveraging China and India as hubs for global advantage. They cite Eli Lilly & Co. and Portal Player as exemplary U.S. companies and explain why. Later in the chapter, they pose a critically important question: What is the optimal mix of global and local for a particular global hub? They then provide a set of five universal guidelines (on Pages 120-121) “that can be used to frame the analysis and discussions that lead to deriving the appropriate answer.” Once again, Gupta and Wang include another real-world example: specifically, a mini-case study of Accenture’s development of global delivery capabilities in India, led by Keith Haviland (a British citizen) under the supervision of Karl Heinz Floether (a German executive). Haviland and his associates succeeded. How? There were many key decisions and actions that helped ensure a successful ramp-up. Seven are briefly discussed on Pages 122-123. Once again, Gupta and Wang not only identify “what,” they also explain “how” and “why.”
I highly recommend this book to senior-level executives in companies that are already competing in the global marketplace or are now planning to do so. I also recommend it to senior-level executives in other companies that are within the supply chains of current and imminent global players.