Pars­ing the Trends in Asian Man­u­fac­tur­ing

Norway-Asia Business Review - - News - By Eric Baker

Asia is so vast many of its economies are at dif­fer­ent points along the devel­op­ment curve. But one com­mon char­ac­ter­is­tic is that al­most ev­ery coun­try needs an el­e­ment of man­u­fac­tur­ing if it is to grow. The 2015 Nor­way-Asia Busi­ness Sum­mit had a ses­sion on man­u­fac­tur­ing in Asia with speak­ers from some of the big­gest economies to fo­cus on what the chal­lenges are for in­dus­try and where the sec­tor can go from here. Te­jpreet Singh Cho­pra is the chief ex­ec­u­tive of Bharat Light & Power and the for­mer chief ex­ec­u­tive of GE in In­dia. His pri­mary con­cern is in­no­va­tion in In­dia. “The big­gest chal­lenge at GE was the lack of a foun­da­tion in In­dia,” said Mr Cho­pra. “I had to go to GE and lobby them to set up shop in In­dia in­stead of run­ning it from the US be­cause the needs are so dif­fer­ent here than in the US.” “In Asia we are go­ing through some of the big­gest de­mo­graph­ics changes in cen­turies. China uses 49% of the world’s out­put of coal for ther­mal power, and I am wor­ried that In­dia

will take the same path” “GE wanted to fo­cus on tech­nol­ogy, not cre­at­ing a foun­da­tion. So four and a half years ago I de­cided to leave GE so we could try to solve the prob­lem our­selves. Our com­pany sets up wind and so­lar gen­er­a­tion around In­dia. “In­dia suf­fers at tra­di­tional in­no­va­tion, but it is ex­cel­lent at fru­gal in­no­va­tion, that is mak­ing things smaller and cheaper. In fact, we might be the best in the world at it. “I think any­one con­sid­er­ing set­ting up a busi­ness in In­dia that re­lies on in­no­va­tion needs to un­der­stand that peo­ple here have dif­fer­ent needs than in the US and Europe. That means the in­no­va­tion that is likely to take place here will be rad­i­cally dif­fer­ent than in the West. But In­dia still needs to im­prove its in­no­va­tion stan­dards to meet global re­quire­ments. “In Asia we are go­ing through some of the big­gest de­mo­graph­ics changes in cen­turies. China uses 49% of the world’s out­put of coal for ther­mal power, and I am wor­ried that In­dia will take the same path. That is why I set up my com­pany. “Over 50% of In­dia’s pop­u­la­tion is un­der 35. The agri­cul­ture sec­tor em­ploys 53% of work­ers here now. The coun­try sim­ply has to de­velop its man­u­fac­tur­ing sec­tor if it wants to sur­vive, let alone grow.” Jo­tun has made a name for it­self by declar­ing they are go­ing to have a man­u­fac­tur­ing pres­ence in ev­ery mar­ket where it sells, quite un­con­ven­tional in this age. “At least half of our to­tal pro­duc­tion is in China now,” said Erik Aaberg, vice-pres­i­dent of North­east Asia for Jo­tun Coat­ings. “Our em­ploy­ees take more re­spon­si­bil­ity with this busi­ness model, and our em­ployee turnover has only been 7-8% in China’s fast-grow­ing econ­omy. We think this is quite good.”

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