Muttdogs in Mumbai or Labradors in Lucknow

Written by Edward Dugan

With the movie Slumdog Millionaire winning awards, many Indians have openly questioned the way the movie shows India to the world.  Some believe that the movie will slow down tourism and do damage to India’s image as a country moving from a developing country to developed country.

Yet in real life many newcomers to India do question how the exceedingly poor can live within sight of the extremely rich and how the two can go about daily life without conflict.

India can also be seen in two geographical parts; the major cities and the rest.  Many companies seeking to find trading opportunities in India only travel to the business hubs of Mumbai, New Delhi and say Bangalore for the IT sector or Chennai for industry.

Companies like Reliance Industries are very much the pointy end of town with offices in the real estate hot spots of Mumbai.  The owners are now billionaires with a strong international outlook.  In fact Reliance is a rather new organisation which started as an average textile company which had great luck in turning an ordinary company, into a red hot, oversold stock, which was well beyond the value of the real company and its activities.  The roots of the Reliance are based in a small textile sector in back blocks of Ahmadabad where camels still roam the roads.

When you or your organisation look to explore India, consider the company with the worst first impression, as it could be your best long term partner.  If the factory site and buildings look shabby, and the furniture from 1955, the owners may well be doing far better in terms of return on capital than some of the big boys in the high end of town.  It can also be said that the style of business is often more friendly and relaxed and much more in the “Australian style”.

So, how do you wish to start out in business in India?; Dealing with the hard and fast dogs in the city who live by cunning, or the more laid back friend-to-most dog that knows its time is coming.  We say do your homework and be keen to explore both, if you find business away from the city, often the journey will be longer, but once you find a partner in these regions, they may just be the next Reliance.

A few Jokes from Mr Khushwant Singh, which may help outline how the two regions see each other. They may also help break the ice when you are in India, as Indians do enjoy bad jokes.

City Joke

A firm of Solicitors in Mumbai go under the name of Patel, Patel, Patel and Patel.  The phone rang and the voice asked:
“May I speak to Mr Patel?”
“Mr Patel is not in his seat.”
“In that case can I speak to the other Mr Patel?”
“The other Mr Patel is out of station.”
“Then put me on to the third Mr Patel.”
“Sorry, Mr Patel has gone out for lunch.”
“Okay then I will speak to the last Mr Patel.”
“Patel speaking.”


Country joke

Two Punjabi peasants got into an argument over which is more important to the world: the Sun or the Moon.  They put their problem to the village panchayat.  The Elders deliberated over the question for many hours before the Chief pronounced in favour of the Moon in sound Punjabi logic:
“If there was no Moon we would not be able to see anything at night.  The Sun shines only during the day when we need no light.”

For more information about this topic or if you are interested in strategies to grow your business in other international markets, please contact Edward Dugan, Client Manager International Growth Specialists (Australian Business International Trade Services) on 1800 505 529 or email international.trade@australianbusiness.com.au

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