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China vs. India

Interesting perspectives on China vs. India by Dominique Trempont

China reminds me a little of Germany in the 20th century and in the Industrial Revolution: very organized, very focused and determined, facing trade-offs head-on and being gutsy on a large scale to leapfrog everybody. Chinese engineers are very good at reverse engineering the best hardware and reproducing it at lower cost. For the future, China also reminds me of Singapore with its very systematic and well thought through world class technology development, education and environment protection.

India reminds me of Italy in the 15th century, with its creativity, individualism, talent, spirituality, respect of its cultural heritage … and systemic chaos. It is not by accident that India produces herds of very talented software developers as it takes a fairly unstructured thinking to excel in this field. I was not surprised to see a dozen of biotech start ups, founded by Indians, leveraging the most diverse genomic pool in the world. I predict that, beyond software, India will become a world power in biotech over time.

In design, form follows device function. In geopolitics, function follows cultural form.

If you want the 900 page version, read this.

Discussion

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  1. The analysis begs the question: So who plays Poland & France in the 21st Century? =\

    –chuck

    Posted by chuck goolsbee | March 16, 2007, 10:46 AM
  2. Poland? Poland in the 21st century looks much better than the 20th. Poland and the resurgence of Eastern Europe will only make Western Europe better.

    Worry for those nations who don’t feel sufficient pressure to improve.

    Posted by Andrew Schmitt | March 16, 2007, 10:52 AM
  3. i think that cg’s comment was just carrying forward the germany analogy up to ww2. it is an interesting comment given that china’s defense budget is cranking up faster than the economy in general.
    http://www.forbes.com/feeds/afx/2007/03/04/afx3482497.html

    the thing that is most unsettling here is the taiwan question. i’ve spoken to a number of chinese nationals about this and they have all indicated that taiwan MUST be re-incorporated into the country as a whole weather this is what taiwan wants or not. i should mention that the people that i talk to are not hard line commies. on the contrary, they are smart, talented people who are competing (and winning) in very technical fields. when the taiwan question comes up though, their is a tone that emerges that can best be characterized as militancy.

    Posted by m@ | March 16, 2007, 11:05 AM
  4. I think the Chinese are more disciplined than the Indians. And plus side of the equation is that it is not a democratic country. To achieve anything in a large scale, endless bickering will always impede progress. (It is unimaginable that the foundation of United States Constitution would have invited people on street into the debate).My analogy is that China will be built like the old industry like DOW Jones Index, India will be the Nasdaq. Which one you prefer is in the eye of the beholder.

    Posted by yf | March 16, 2007, 3:39 PM
  5. China is busy making knock off computer hardware, India is making knockoff drugs. India will remain forever an also-ran in biotech until it can figure out intellectual property.

    Posted by mike | March 16, 2007, 7:01 PM
  6. I agree 100% Mike and the article certainly glosses over this.

    Posted by Andrew Schmitt | March 16, 2007, 8:07 PM
  7. Interesting read:

    I’d suggest also Edward Luce’s “In Spite of the Gods: The Strange Rise of Modern India” just out recently.

    http://www.amazon.com/Spite-Gods-Strange-Modern-India/dp/0385514743

    India v. China comparisons abound in the blogosphere today, but Luce in my view is able to construct a detailed (and critical) view of the rich-poor income gap in India by simply walking up to whomever and interviewing them. I’d blow my annual book purchase budget on something like this book vis a vis China.

    Posted by Badri | March 16, 2007, 8:52 PM
  8. The fundamental question that is always looked at is, what kind of a society is optimal for a fast growing market: a free, liberal but disorganized society or a disciplined non-democratic society.
    I’ve always been under the impression that political freedom is a necessity for sustainable economic growth. China, India and Singapore are examples things are much more complicated than we’d like to think.
    Although India is the world’s largest democracy it is deeply religious and has draconian regulations in many fields like land owning. China, on the other hand, is not civil rights heaven but has plenty of economical freedom and very welcoming when it comes to innovation and modernization.

    Personally, i believe that India represents a better opportunity since it’s still a little bit behind China in the growth curve.

    BTW
    one shouldn’t underestimate china biotech industry. they’ve got quite a few promising achievements across all the major fields. For example, a small chinese company managed to develop and prove the efficacy of what is thought as the first gene therapy treatment for cancer.

    Posted by Ohad | March 21, 2007, 9:39 PM