By Nathan Rudyk
India's the place for cheap software talent. China's good for low-value-added manufacturing. Neither country offers a real market for high technology products or services. And any entrepreneur who would dare base his business plan on selling to those countries should be roundly flogged by his Board of Directors. Right?
I have it on good authority those floggings are routinely taking place. Under-40 entepreneurs are being whipped upside the head by boardroom grey-beards for daring to suggest that the Indians and Chinese might possibly buy something versus rip off their intellectual property.
The grey-beards of course made their money piloting and selling their technologies in the Excited States and in some cases, Europe. Aside from the fact the E.S. economy is based on B.S. financial instruments and suffering badly from Wall Street through to Main Street, there are those hundreds of millions of newly minted middle class people in Asia who want to drive cars, eat more meat, and need billions of dollars of both made-in-Canada (read cleantech like solar, wind, hydro, biofuel) and information/telecommunications technology to transform their societies. They're doing it, now. If you've got something to sell there, you should be doing it, now. Grey-beards be damned.
Mike Manson, Partner with the TaraSpan Group — a company that accelerates market entry to India for Canadian companies — says that the economic opportunity in India is “at a scale where most Canadian’s can’t comprehend”.
“We’ve exploded this myth that only the big players can play in India. What we’ve found is that if you have a product with a value proposition, Indian companies are moving at such a pace that if they get the value proposition there is definitely room for smaller Canadian companies to enter the Indian market.”
Mike Manson's got a solid proof point with a company-changing deal he helped broker for Recognia, an Ottawa-based stock chart pattern recognition software company led by Rick Escher. I've watched Rick work long and hard in the North American market. He's a great entrepreneur and his Indian deal with Reliance Money places his company in one of the world's hottest equity markets. As well as more cars, meat and technology, India's citizens are enthusiastic participants in their own equity markets. For the first time, market capitalization crossed $1 trillion in 2007. Reliance Money's Indian customers will use Recognia's software to get email notifications based on personalized criteria, such as opportunity type, the price range or type of pattern desired. Subscribers will have the added benefit of receiving the daily 'Top Bullish and Bearish Opportunities' sent directly to them.
That's India. What about China? Well, my friend Mike Darch, Executive Director of Global Marketing for the Ottawa Centre for Research and Innovation is China this week leading a clean energy mission, and in a blog post entitled The new China: myths destroyed, he gives the grey-beards a pretty convincing argument for doing business in that country:
You can stay western, eat western, shop western and easily get by in English. Reading about the economic revolution, or watching it on CNN is one thing. Seeing it is quite another.
The numbers are also staggering. Already China’s solar energy companies are generating close to $100 million in revenue. And the target for 2010: $1 billion. It is China’s demonstration city for solar technology. It has embraced the sustainable energy movement and is positioning itself to lead China.
Another myth: bureaucracy. We are on a first mission, trying to build Canada’s image as a major innovator in clean energy, with our companies and universities looking to make contacts and build relationships.
We find out that Carleton University is scrambling to find a computer to develop a partnership agreement and sign it before they leave tomorrow. The discussion tables for our team members are busy all afternoon. We are talking about specific projects and follow-up with the Shenzhen Science, Technology and Information Bureau. And how to handle signing and publicity.
One of our presenters noted that although Canada had great innovation and R&D, it was slow to commercialize. It was clear in the seminar and follow-on meetings that clean technology was important to China and Shenzhen, and the mantra was “let’s do it not talk about it”. Which is the country supposedly bogged down in bureaucracy.
MythbustersRus. Tell the grey-beards to wake up, smell the curry and get going!