June 20, 2006


Immigrants from India spread business success to homeland (Edward Iwata, 6/20/06, USA TODAY)

Bhatia and many thousands of Indian immigrants with strong ties to the USA and India are storming back to their ancestral homeland to cultivate business and cut deals. With 1 billion people, a rising wave of consumers and annual economic growth of 8% since 2004, India is the world's most promising economy after China.

Indian engineers, executives and investors are launching start-ups in business services, telecommunications, computers and software, manufacturing and other sectors. They're paving the way for research and development centers. They're encouraging foreign investment and pressing the Indian government to continue opening their markets to the world.

"Brick by brick, we are building an 8,000-mile bridge between the U.S. and India," says Navneet Chugh, an attorney and founder of the Chugh Firm in Los Angeles. He has strong business and charity ties to India.

The business growth between the two countries is gratifying to Chugh, who immigrated to Los Angeles 25 years ago and earned an MBA from the University of Southern California before starting his law firm.

Chugh grew up in a middle-class neighborhood of Nagpur, India, where his parents' home overlooked a huge, smoke-covered shantytown. The shantytown had no gas or electricity, and its 100,000 people lived in dwellings made of rusty tin and dried cow dung.

If India's economy grows 10% a year for several years, Chugh says, it will strengthen trade and investments between India and the USA while lifting millions of Indians out of poverty. Chugh also is a trustee of the American India Foundation, which donates millions of dollars a year to charities in India.

"India is booming with cross-cultural development," says Chugh, who lives in the Los Angeles suburb of Cerritos with his wife and two kids. "Indians and white business people are bringing their cultures and creativity together."

The stronger U.S.-India business connection is also evident in venture capital. When high-tech banker Ash Lilani took U.S. investors on their first trip to Bangalore in 2003, barely a handful of U.S. venture firms were funding Indian start-ups. Many investors held stereotypes of India as a home for cheap labor, outsourcing and call centers.

Once on the ground, though, the U.S. investors realized that India was a business gold mine. The country boasted top engineering and managerial talent, an English-speaking workforce and a British-style legal and regulatory system.

Which is why it's more promising than China.

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 20, 2006 8:32 AM

. . . . its 100,000 people lived in dwellings made of rusty tin and dried cow dung.


Posted by: Twn at June 20, 2006 9:17 AM

Twn, read Willa Cather's "My Antonia" and see the conditions our ancestors endured and survived. We progressed fast because we didn't have a century of socialism forced down our throats. Those shanty towns will melt away as prosperity spreads and the Chinese being fast learners will surely take note.

Posted by: erp at June 20, 2006 10:35 AM

China is more promising than India. India is trying to catch up to China as far as business ties to the US and is hindered by it's caste culture. The US will be a winner regardless of who wins that competition unless we should foolishly tilt towards India.

There are more Christians in China than in India and they are better Christians because they have been persecuted. We have the Communist to thank for that.

"A magazine Christianity Today, brought out that demographers estimate that an average 200,000 Chinese people convert to Christianity every year, meaning that it is the fastest growing religion in the nation, and has outpaced the Communist Party's population of 70 million people"

Posted by: h-man at June 20, 2006 11:18 AM

One child policy.

Posted by: Ali Choudhury at June 20, 2006 1:16 PM

At this point in time,I have to go with India as being more economically promising. India is much further along with discarding Socialism, China still has the ChiComs in charge.

Posted by: Annoying Old Guy at June 20, 2006 1:38 PM

China is Socialist In Name Only. heh..heh. SINO get it. I kill myself. Sorry couldn't resist it. Ahmmm.. anyway

Upward mobility exists to a far greater extent in China versus India and if one were to look to the engine of Capitalism as the free flow of capital and people to those areas of highest return and the commensurate rewards they should receive, then China does not present significant social obstacles to talented people of every social strata moving up. India on the other hand is still suffering under that burden.

One child policy will end shortly, if for no other reason than governmental ineptitude. There is presently significant disparity in its impact. My understanding is that the major method of enforcement is withholding of governmental largess and as the economy has been improving people will depend on that less.

Posted by: h-man at June 20, 2006 3:25 PM

China will grow old before it grows rich. And developing an army of a few million pissed off, angry young men who can't find wives is not a recipe for a harmonious society.

But you are right in citing the caste system. That's causing major problems in Bihar and now in Uttar Pradesh.

Posted by: Ali Choudhury at June 20, 2006 4:10 PM

China is more promising... but more alarming. India looks set for good growth for the forseeable future; China is growing like gangbusters, but a wreck or implosion or explosion of one kind or another is entirely plausible.

Posted by: Mike Earl at June 21, 2006 11:10 AM


Posted by: oj at June 21, 2006 12:00 PM

It's inevitable that we have a Bush Whitehouse light bulb joke. It's not inevitable that China will falter "significantly" economically due to coming political change which change is inevitable. Political changes that are likely to occur will spur the economy to greater heights.

How many members of the Bush administration does it take to change a light bulb?

1. One to deny that the light bulb needs to be changed;

2. One to attack the patriotism of anyone who says the light bulb needs to be changed;

3. One to blame Clinton for burning out the light bulb;

4. One to arrange the invasion of a country rumored to have a secret stockpile of light bulbs;

5. One to give a billion dollar no-bid contract to Halliburton for the new light bulb;

6. One to photograph Bush, dressed as a janitor, standing on a ladder under the banner: Light Bulb Change Accomplished;

7. One administration insider to resign and write a book documenting in detail how Bush was literally in the dark;

8. One to viciously smear ..7;

9. One to campaign on TV and at rallies on how George Bush has had a strong light-bulb-changing policy all along;

10. One to confuse Americans about the difference between screwing a light bulb and screwing the country.

11. And finally, one to explain that 911 changed everything, including the light bulb

Proof again that all humor is conservative.

Posted by: h-man at June 21, 2006 4:31 PM

Their problem is culture, not merely politics

Posted by: oj at June 21, 2006 4:36 PM

Culture instead of politics.

Is there a fatal flaw in Chinese Culture that I could not match with similar or worse flaw in Indian Culture? Indians have hidden behind the excuse of British occupation for some time. Eventually that wears thin. Since Chinese have been exposed to similar "oppression", but seem to have "moved on".

Chinese in Taiwan, Singapore, don't seem suffer from any Cultural lacking. Let me quickly backpedal at this point to say that I have no axe to grind on the relative merits of these two fabulous nations, but am merely predicting the future economic gains their nations will have.

Posted by: h-man at June 21, 2006 5:07 PM

Yes, India was Anglicized.

Posted by: oj at June 21, 2006 5:12 PM

Yet you criticize the "anglos" as having faltered in their homeland.

Being as I and you are Anglicized ourselves, I will admit the brilliance of your point.

Posted by: h-man at June 21, 2006 5:19 PM

Faltered, not yet fallen.

Posted by: oj at June 21, 2006 8:30 PM