It was almost as if I was waiting for that day. The cacophonic kids of my block are one intemperate, raucous and uncivil bunch belonging to the we’ve-just-now-entered-double digit- age variety. But I somehow kind of really like the cheeky brat lot of fifth and sixth graders. Thus it was, when one day while returning from work, I chanced upon the truants discussing how that day, one of their teachers at school had told them how globalization had worked for... I froze in my tracks, and didn’t even let them finish the statement when I literally jumped into them! Like I said, it was almost as if all my pent-up emotions were just waiting for that that moment to happen, as for ages, I had known ‘the’ answer!
Well, my first question is, is globalization really necessary for companies? This one’s actually a no-brainer. The noted neo-IT 2006 study titled ‘Globalization and the Impact on Shareholder Value and Revenues’, which used the Fortune 500 and S&P 500 companies as their research base, dramatically proved how companies that globalize “create more value for shareholders than companies that don’t globalize!” The year 2006 Accenture report, ‘Expanding Markets: Innovation and Globalization’ added that “the best performers [globally] were 83% globalized, while the average performers were only 18% globalized,” – which brings us to my second question.
Is India globalized? One of the most outstanding reports released by AT Kearney and Carnegie Endowment titled, The Globalization Index 2007, after analytically ranking countries around the world on multitudes of parameters like political engagement, FDI, technology, personal contact and economic integration, puts India at a lowly rank of ‘second from last’ (ahead of just Iran!). So much for our claims of being globalised! Jordan, Estonia, Tanzania, Senegal, Nigeria, Kenya, Botswana, Uganda, Ghana and many more are ranked above India. In 2002, the same report (Globalisation Index), based on the same parameters, had ranked India seventh from last! In other words, with each passing year, we have actually regressed when it comes to going global.
This brings up my third question – how many recognized, valued globalised product/service brands does India have? The answer is not two or one, but zero. Most recently, MilwardBrown released its much awaited Most Valuable Global Brands 2009 rankings. Out of ten Asian brands which fought their way into the rankings, 6 names were from Japan and 4 were from China! Zero from India. A similar tale is repeated in the most respected Interbrand/BusinessWeek’s Survey of top brands for 2008, where amongst 8 Asian brands, none are of Indian origin! What a shame!
Bringing us to my fourth and last question – isn’t India supposed to be the top globalised country when it comes to technology adoption? As per the 2008 report by World Economic Forum, titled, The Global Information Technology Report 2008, India is ranked a lowly 50 on ‘readiness to adopt technology’, much behind countries like Barbadoas, Slovak Republic, Latvia, Tunisia, Chile, Lithuania, Estonia and others. The February 2009 report by Nokia-Siemens, titled Connectivity Report 2009, proves how India Inc. stands battered at the 6th last position on the global rankings in terms of technology adoption by companies.
In straight terms, India stands shamefully last on almost all parameters of globalization... I was out of breath when I stopped bleating to the fi ve foot gang on the wretched global performance of India. A few moments of silence passed, when I realised that they were all staring at me, predictably stunned. I knew I had made a path breaking impact... till one of them spoke, “Mama [they call me that; it means Uncle, colloquially], guess you’re working too much. Not that we understood even a word of what you said, but all I had said was that our sports teacher told us today how globalization has worked for Indian wrestlers, as they get desi Indian food outside the country too... Mama, chill down...” Food?! Wrestlers?!? What was I thinking!! While slinking away totally embarrassed, I got my fi nal learning on the topic – globalization never works, not even with Indian kids!