In today's increasingly political and divergent world, it can be difficult to pick topics of mealtime conversation with international business colleagues without getting into discussions bordering on argument. Since such topics as Iran, Israel, Islam, US domestic politics, and freedom of expression are increasingly becoming taboo to discuss in global company outside -- or inside -- the office, we're now left with a shorter and shorter list of good social business conversation topics. But one area that always seems to generate interest -- and is still acceptable for now -- is the rivalry between India and China. Recently The McKinsey Quarterly featured a series of articles looking at India's industrial growth. Referencing highlights from the study, India's Business Standard had some pithy lines and figures. For instance, did you know that "India is already a preferred destination for sourcing auto components by almost all the big global automakers. However, India's share in the outsourcing of auto components is still less that of China, Thailand and Mexico." And "Given India's capabilities in chemistry, engineering and cost reduction, it has the potential to become one of the developing world’s top two exporters of specialty chemicals and increase its exports to as much as $15 billion, from the $2 billion in 2002."
Despite impressive figures like this, India still faces a number of hurdles in competing for the title of most critical Asian tiger economy with its neighbor to the East. These include the need "to overcome the problems of erratic power, poor roads, gridlocked seaports and airports while contending with government policies that discourage hiring." Still, India is far more than the land of IT outsourcing that many studies make it out to be. Indeed, India has got a much more important role in the entire Spend Management ecosystem than many people think.