Silicon Valley is passe. Indian startups now turn to China for inspiration.

Start-ups pick up survival skills

Two busloads of Indian founders and investors went around China’s major tech hubs recently. In the first part of this series, we explored the potential they saw for Chinese investments to rise in India – as well as challenges.


Today, we look at some of their takeaways from the trip: an environment in which businesses scale at breakneck speed; pragmatic governance that enables it; and risk-taking entrepreneurs who innovate with local business models.


Balancing act
The ecosystem in which a startup grows has a lot to do with its fortunes. The five-fold difference in size between the Chinese and Indian economies has an obvious impact. So the public infrastructure and purchasing power of consumers brought ‘oohs’ right from the time we landed in Guangzhou Baiyun airport and took the connecting flight to Beijing, where a politburo meeting of the Communist Party of China had just ended. We heard the air was cleaner than usual because industries around Beijing had been ordered to shut for a week before the meeting.


It’s easy to attribute China’s success to the absolute power of one-party rule, compared to the democratic political system in India where decision-making tends to be mired in argument – a sour-grapes reaction that usually crops up in a discussion on China. But it becomes apparent during the trip that there’s more to it than that.


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