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India vs China: The battle begins.


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October 05, 2006

India vs China: The battle begins.

Steve Hamm

There's no question about it: India has a massive lead on China in the software off-shoring game. But, behind the scenes, the Chinese are planting the seeds that could eventually make them major players in global outsourcing. On a flight from Chicago to Beijing last week, I sat next to a top Chinese programmer who gave me a taste of things to come. He's Alex Dong, a software architect and project lead who works for Objectiva. The software programming company was started in Beijing in 1999 but was sold in 2004 to an American firm, Document Science Corp. Dong's wife is also a software developer, and she works for India's Satyam. So Dong has a view into both worlds. His verdict, perhaps not surprisingly: China's coding is better.

Dong says the Indian firms throw a lot of programmers at a project rather than architecting it in the most effective way, and that they don't write code efficiently, which means it takes a lot of computing power to run the programs. "We can accomplish the same results in 5,000 lines of code that takes them 20,000 lines," Dong claims. "Their work isn't clean and well integrated."

Dong has a beef about the CMM certifications, designed and overseen by Carnegie-Mellon University's Software Engineering Institute, which the Indian outfits have used to great advantage to establish their credibility with Western corporate customers. He says they don't really measure the quality in code. And they're a huge barrier to small- and medium-size Chinese companies that can't afford the time and money it takes to win certification.

These are provocative claims. I'd like to see what other programmers and analysts in China, India, and the US have to say about it.

11:28 AM

Off-shoring

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the comparison of 5000 lines of code vs 20000 lines of code is kind of silly ,since it all depends on the developer .For the same efficiency level,race /country doesnt have any role in the number of lines of code , so it all depends on the individual skill set of the person who is doing the work.

Posted by: ak47 at October 5, 2006 01:15 PM

I just can not understand why on earth Americans and Indians keep comparing India to China! These are two countries at totally different levels in terms of national average IQ and economical potentials. It has been long known that northeastern Asians including Chinese have highest national average IQ among all nations. You can check out the stats on national average IQ by searching web for ??Q and Wealth of Nations? As for the coding qualities, I am not surprised at all that Chinese programmers write much better codes. Just look at how Chinese programmers dominate at IOI, ACM ICPC and www.topcoder.com. At ACM ICPC and www.topcoder.com, Chinese schools beat American’s best like MIT, Princeton, Caltech, Stanford and Carnegie Mellon University etc. every year for last 10+ years. They get US and Japan in their minds.

Posted by: tom smith at October 5, 2006 01:20 PM

If U sit to a Indian programmer next time ,he/she will mention they are the BEST in the world and if a American developer takes your next set , he/she will mention that BOTH Chinese and Indian developers are not good developers.

I work for a large Telecommunications company that outsourced work to India and Phillipines(hopefully ,I got that correct) . Both of them have thier +'s and -'s.But,overall both of them are good .

Posted by: Suresh Kurapati at October 5, 2006 02:20 PM

I have been working last 15 years with both Chinese and Indian software people. The chinese has no comparision with Indian geeks. The chinese are good on repititive and maintenance work and the Indians are good in innovative things. I feel Mr Dong has faked.

Posted by: Murphy at October 5, 2006 09:47 PM

really impressive!

thank you!

Posted by: Blue at October 6, 2006 04:09 AM

Would like to know on what Dong's assertions are based. There are always bad and good coders everywhere and this seems to be a case of twisting the truth to suit one's own convictions. There are hundred's of thousands of Indian and Chinese developers around -maybe Dong is snooping around to come up with this gem of a discovery :). I am sure Chinese are capable and would do their best to oudo the Indians - but as of now the proof is in the pudding, as far as outsourcing is concerned. Steve - maybe you should choose your sources who are more rational in their thought process!

Posted by: BNair at October 6, 2006 02:34 PM

I think Steve's article merely tries to invoke a discussion that won't yield any sense. I think we all compete each other, so there is no need to entice people to argue about particularly the competition between China and India. In general, the article is tasteless.

Posted by: Mimi at October 9, 2006 02:06 AM

I just find drawing conclusions (or making predictions) on those kinds of anecdotes a little silly; not worth the time to write it, let alone reading it.

Posted by: Jun Liu at October 9, 2006 09:17 AM

Oh boy... Another India vs China article. If you've ever noticed, there is hardly any Chinese who would join this silly debate. Only Americans and Indians. As a Chinese, I can tell you that people in China are very curious about India, but don't view it as a race, especially when the two countries are developing in such different ways. If we want to compare them in software outsourcing, I can say that Indians will always have the edge because Chinese simply don't speak English well enough to communicate with Americans. But in terms of programming skills, I don't see any group or race of people having more talent than others. Of course everybody will claim to be the best, it's natural.

Posted by: Chinese at October 9, 2006 09:42 AM

Dong has got it absolutely wrong. In real world the computing time is cheaper compared to the human time which is several times more expensive. The key is to get a good mix of both so that the overall expenses are lower.

According to Mr. Dong, it feels like the computer is the boss and we have to adjust to it rather than computer being a tool.

Posted by: Harish at October 9, 2006 10:05 AM

As someone who has worked with both Indian and Chinese porgrammers, I don't think it's the capabilities of individual programmers that make the biggest differences; it's more about project management where Indian companies have edges. But the Chinese are catching up. Interested in the latest in Chinese outsourcing industry? Check out the website http://www.chinaoutsourcingforum.org/

Posted by: Greg at October 9, 2006 10:53 AM

I really don’t know what is the real intension of the author to write short article like this. Just a causal conversation in the flight is caped so big title. India and China are two developing countries. To provoke the fight between them, who will benefit from it?

Posted by: Tong Tong at October 9, 2006 11:47 AM

Here we go again! ascribing programming talent on racial lines! this is utter nonsense. To address the original contention of elegant code vs non elegant code, I can tell you, as an experienced software architect of 25 years, that I have witness many a project that has failed due to the so called search for elegance. Elegance has a place but the ability to produce working code and deliver a project is much more relevant. Perhaps that is why the Indians are so succesful at the moment. They have found an IT model that is in demand currently

Posted by: chubby rain at October 9, 2006 04:56 PM

Steve and all bloggers forgot one thing:

How economic force shape the future world is beyong most people's vision.

True, India and China are rising. But do not forget the creativities of American society and its ability to attract the best minds in the world.

With next economic bubble burst, dollar will be greatly devalued. American wage and living standard may drop so that American engineers can compete in terms real wages and ability. Guess what, if one has American engineer next to an Indian or Chinese engineer, who wins? American Engineer!

Dont bet this outsourcing will go on forever. It wont. (I am saying the World isnt flat!!!) So that sense, a recession will be good for the long term health of America. America needs to shake out some bad habits like over spending and no savings.

Posted by: All wrong at October 9, 2006 05:37 PM

steve, dont you have anything better to do in life rather than writing these baseless and ridiculous articles based on some Dong's claims. Pl use your common sense and dont abuse your journalism previleges.

Posted by: Use_ur_senses at October 9, 2006 06:43 PM

What a BS and meaningless Blog ! Mr. Steve Hamm should not be allowed to publish such ridiculous blogs... much less on the home page of Business week...How can you compare coding skills based on nationality ?...Isn't that dependent on the individual ? Unless your intent is to create a mud-slinging competition between the Indian and Chinese supporters....

Posted by: GG_Ind at October 9, 2006 08:12 PM

Very Shallow article. Dont expect this on BW. Poor content ! It aint rocket science- everyone know one programmer is different from other. Its not about race etc. Its about each individual' style. Some rock and some suck. I have seen programms at each end of spectrum in india, china and US.

Gimme a break Steve Hamm. !

Posted by: Yogi at October 9, 2006 08:32 PM

Any individual can be better than another at a given time. We all know American's are great Sales People, Chinese are mass producer (no quality). Look at all the Indians who are involved in so many innovative efforts Healthcare, IT, R&D, Financials and other industry they are there and reaching the top. I don't deny Chinese mandate to do every thing mass production and they may be able to beat Indians on the software industry in the long run, but it is millions mile away. I have interacted with Chinese students/graduates who have studied in U.S.A., it is very hard to communicate with them. Whatever time they have to beat the Indian software industry add English speaking to that. In India, learning English is a tough one, they have more course work including grammer, literature, drama to learn and it starts with Kindergarden school.

A.K.

Posted by: A.K. at October 9, 2006 10:32 PM

Common man, another topic on “India vs China”! As a Chinese, let me tell you how I feel. I feel annoyed and think it is very annoying and arrogant for Americans to constantly compare India to China, like Americans stand way above every other country. Wait a minute. US GDP is 13 trillion and China’s GDP is only 2.4 trillion. In another word, China’s GDP is less than 20% of US. That may be the root of their mentality to comment on anyone.

However, it is even more irritating for Indians to jump out from everywhere to claims their superiority over China in innovation, creativity or technologies. This is totally undeserved arrogance. Where India’s GDP stand? India’s GDP is less than 0.8 trillion or 1/3 of China’s GDP. What does this mean? Let’s do some simple math. Let’s assume US’s GDP stays stagnant with development and China can maintain a net growth rate of 7% (BTW inflation adjusted growth rate is very good), using an accruing formula (1+0.07)^n, it will take China another 25 years to reach US today’s level. It will take much longer for China to reach US’s per capita GDP. How about India using the same criteria? It will take 15 years for India to reach China’s current level.

That is why we Chinese stay low key and stay focused. We know we have a long, long way to go. We are really flattering ourselves and should be a bit embarrassed if we claim to be world-leading. With India’s current state, my advice to all Indians who claim their superiorities here is: Do something before you talk. Otherwise, you just make a fool of yourself.

Posted by: johnwood at October 10, 2006 03:36 AM

You could know the personality of the bloggers. Chinese always keep low profile but they did real work, Indians showed extarordinary effort to prove they are the better one. I am a consultant, worked with many chinese as well as indians. Chinese tend to not speaking too much even though they did good design/coding work, while Indians will confidently present their wrong and shallow ideas.

Posted by: Sergei at October 10, 2006 06:14 PM

I don't know what its like to walk in another mans shoes so I am not sure of johnwoods comment about American arrogance. But having been doing business in China for almost 20 years it seems to be somewhat of a sweeping generalization. I do however know that his timeline for China GDP matching that of the US is significantly longer than he might think from the "simple math" he uses. Assumptions are all about inputs and using the input of zero US GDP growth (infinitely) is seriously flawed. He might want to run his accrual formula on the US using a nominal 1.5-2% growth rate. Much more realistic. Even such a low rate, based on such a big number - $13 trillion - will produce numbers which add decades to his assumption of GDP parity. I have not run the numbers but just using "simple logic" I think I have a feel for the "simple math".

Posted by: noblehouse at October 11, 2006 05:55 PM

First I should say that both Chinese and Indians worked very hard, they are equally good. I won't comment on whose design & coding skills better but I will say that China will take over India as a leading software giant. I understand that Indians will be angry about this prediction since software outsourcing is the only shining point India is better than China for now. But don't panic Indian friends, that won't happen within 5 years but will within 10 years I am confident. Let me present my 2cents:

1. China has vast resource on software development, skills & management wise.

2. Software outsourcing is not new to China but a prosper business already,$5 billion not big as India, not known much in the west, the clients are Japanese, Koren & Taiwan

3. China itself is a big customer of software, while India software only work for western countries, it won't last long when China take a big pie on outsourcing.

4. China government support.

Posted by: Ed at October 11, 2006 06:50 PM

The Americans did it in the 80s - they wrote reams and reams on Japan - a country they understood little of and wrote (generally) crap about in terms of researching what they wrote. Basically it comes from a deep seated fear of losing the numero uno position they have had - in America 50 years is a LONG time. If they were students of history they would know that the Sun will set. So they fear what they dont know. Look at the research a conversation on a plane. I lived and worked for 16 years in America and moved back to India a couple of years ago. I now go once a month for a week on business to China for a week a month. The Chinese are great when it comes to repiritve tasks and following process to the T but they cannot communicate-their mother tongues both cantonese and mandarin do not enable them to form certain english words verbally and in the US where communication is paramount, they will always come off 2nd best (in general) to Indians who have the Brits to thank for their grasp of the language - a country who ruled the world before the Americans did. In closing . . .Steve - please try to do more research than a triple PHD in a flight over a conversation in between naps.

Posted by: Sambit Chakraborty at October 14, 2006 10:20 AM

My two bit worth of coment:

Having worked in thei industry for donkey years, i have seen both extremes.....extremely good coding standards, and real pathetic ones......

The questio is not whether it comes off an Indian brain or from that of a Chinese. The question lies in the ethics and quality atandards of the copany these lines of code have been written for. If the quality systems are weak, both are capable of dishing out trash, and vice versa. What I have noticed is, that a majority of Indian coders suffer from an elevated sense of competition, which, while being a good motivator for excellence, also leads to short-cuts, sub-optimal coding, and in many cases it reflects in the shabby GUIs and other interfaces that they come up with. I have heard many developers citing the fact that a particular application works, as justification for teh UI to be rubbish.

The argument is not a Indians vs Chinese game....teh stakes are much higher for India than they are for China. The Chinese can always fall back on their low-cost manufacturing skills, if software does not get them similar returns.

Perhpas their regimented growing up helps the Chinese to write their code in elegant well-tabbed manner....so useful in impressing the uninitiated. I shudder to think what he North Koreans would bring to the table, given their capability in putting up a hundred thousand dancers in a meticulously well-choreographed ensembles.

Posted by: Rajeev at October 16, 2006 10:13 AM

I feel that Steve is being very lazy in fulfilling his duties as a reporter. You can write an article on the comments of one, biased "source" and hope to spark a legitimate discussion. He would have served his readers better had he investigated Dong's claims and revealed some facts and conclusions.

Posted by: Girish Shah at October 16, 2006 12:09 PM

I believe over the long run, India will win over China despite the lower cost of labor in the latter. This is due to the superior communication, project management and strategic management skills of the Indians. The Chinese will be able to do lower level work, but Indians will take over the higher value added jobs.

Posted by: Sam at October 18, 2006 11:03 PM

These days, not a single say passes by without coming across some heated online debates on “India vs. China” somewhere. However, it is odd to me the online comments are more one-sided bashing from Indians than debates from both sides. I had a few chats with my Chinese friends on this. Their reaction may be surprising to you. In their mindsets, the comparison of India to China is as absurd and funny as comparison of Cuba to US and they do not even consider it worthwhile at all arguing with low-IQ Indians. It seems against common wisdom that authoritarian communist China outshine India economically, given Indian’s market economy, capitalist system and all those IITs modeled after American MIT and Harvard etc. Why? Their answer is a two-letter word “IQ”. It is not the IQs of the elite few Indians who migrate to US, but the national average IQ of population who make up the assembly workers, office clerks, carpenters and plumbers etc. These parts of population contribute most of a nation’s GDP. They argue that India’s average IQ of 81 is at incomparable disadvantages with China’s national average IQ of 100 (for ref, UK’s IQ is at 100 and US at 98). That is why few Chinese bother to debate “India vs. China”. These comments may not be politically correct and may not explain who is better at coding. But it does explains why capitalist money flows to communist China, not free India.

Posted by: tom sm at October 19, 2006 02:57 AM

Tom, with due respect to what you have just remarked....I think you seem to be swayed by the world famous Chinese propaganda (I'm sure you know what I mean). They say the statistics released by the Chinese Government are inflated to such an extent which would put even the infamous North Korean propaganda machine to shame.

To be completely unbiased, I must say that I have worked with both Indians and Chinese. The Chinese are extremely hard working...no doubt about that. But here's what I have to say..the Chinese work hard, but the Indians work smart. I have typically seen that the productivity of Indians is far higher than the productivity of the Chinese. If this is an indication of IQ, then I have to say that the Indians do possess superior IQ over the Chinese. Also, the Chinese are not able to communicate well. They also do not assimilate as well with Westerners as the Indians do (the Indians have an advantage here due to the British colonial influence which has given them the English language and the cultural proximity to the West).

When we have this discussion 10 years down the line, I feel that my views will be vindicated. It is my view that China is significantly overrated. The economy is highly overheated. In the long run, slow and steady India is highly likely to overtake China.

Posted by: Sam at October 20, 2006 01:30 AM

I'm enjoying the debate, but let me make a few observations:

1. There is no such thing as "unbiased view". We're all biased, and that's a good thing if used constructively.

2. There is no such thing as an average "Indian" or "Chinese" IQ. I'm Chinese American, so I can speak to China better. China is a VERY diverse country, with the majority still farming. Saying China's "average" anything (GDP, IQ, code, etc) cannot be suitably compared to any other "average". For example, saying the "average IQ of Maine is higher than China" means almost nothing. I assume India is also diverse. Therefore, comparing the "average Chinese to the average Indian XXX" is complete nonsense. That statistic, by itself, means nothing.

3. Americans are not better engineers. Several posters have proclaimed American dominance in engineering. I beg to differ. We have better medical care (when you can afford it), dental work, infrastructure, basketball players. But not engineers, unfortunately. (not significantly worse, or even worse at all, but certainly not better)

4. India and China are not races. They are countries, bound by geographic lines. The people within those geographic lines are either Indian or Chinese. China has over 70 minority groups (that is non-Han). They are Chinese, and for categorical reasons, are considered a different "race" from Han. India, from my limited knowledge of the country, was artificially drawn together by the British during colonial times. So, just to be clear, we're talking about geographic designations. So it's similar to saying "the average IQ of Californians are higher than Texans", or saying "Californians are better project managers than New Yorkers".

Posted by: Chris at October 21, 2006 02:17 AM

Sam, could you tell what's the reasons or why India is 20 years behind of development of China and given that 30 years ago China was even behind that of India. At any time, only facts tell everything. You will be ashamed to see that the difference between the two countries will widen instead of narrowed 10 years down the line.

China is making big wave in the world economy actually only since 1999 after joining WTO, it really reshape the world economy, next year China will become world number ONE in world trade, its momentum is unstoppable so far. India is also on the right track on good development, that's good thing, but it has its own challenge to overcome in the near future before becoming a serious competitor of China in economy or anything :

. huge and rapid growing uneducated population, which means enomous burden for government to provide a job ( but where it is or will be?)

. infamous caste system ( shameful in modern history for 300 million untouchable people),

. limited land size ( only one third of China), and last

. in-efficient, and somewhat corrupt government

Posted by: Sergei at October 21, 2006 10:18 PM

Hmmm...

Another white man practicing the "divide and rule"?

We've just gotten out of the colonial bullshit

to worry about comments like these.

Who will benefit when indians and chinese engage in

a price war ?

Steve, your "Hamm" handed article is totally

tasteless, and on a plane from Chicago, I heard

that your momma wears military boots and sports a

beard! So, lets debate that!

Posted by: Asian at October 22, 2006 09:51 AM

India is very good on the outsourcing business, impressive 20 billion! But there are many viable competitors in this field, China, Russia, Braisa, Pakistan, name a few. Plus the outsource can have a limit. In a couple of years the whole situation will changed.

And think this way, when China become the world number one in trade and economy, its software industry will become the first place, I doubt Chinese will hire any indians to do their chinese software. At that time, it will go downhill for India's only shining point.

Posted by: BusinessReader at October 22, 2006 10:02 AM

A democratic country will go farther than an authoritarian one. Enough said.

Posted by: tom sm at October 22, 2006 04:41 PM

tom sm: unfortunately, you didn't say enough. Which democratic country went "farther"? Farther where? In comsumption of world resources? In polluting the world? Where is this democratic country you speak of (US is a republic)?

Posted by: Chris at October 24, 2006 10:21 PM

Well, I have been working in a big software company for over 10 years. About half of the coders are from India. By that, I think I earned enough credit to throw some comments on Indian coders. By statistics, I can rate 1 out of 5 Indian coders as good. For rest of them, they are either mediocre to lousy.

The biggest obstable for the Indians to be good programmers is not about knowledge or experience, it is about their cultural inclinatioin such as habits----far from being meticulous and detailed. I'd bet, if race factor is considered, Japanese would be the best programmer by far in the whole world.

Posted by: Kinsan at October 25, 2006 09:12 PM

Kinsan -- you worked with some software coders from India, which somehow gives you credit to judge a whole nation (NOT race) of people as "far from being meticulous and detailed"?! If I were to judge the entire "race" (as you say) of Americans based on coders, what stupid generalizations could I come up with?

Based on your (wrong) hypothesis, would Californians make the best coders? Texans the best testers?

This debate is ridiculous both for its generalizations of cultures as well as the general commenters' ignorance of the world.

Posted by: Chris at October 26, 2006 08:10 PM

The latest patent granted to China is 10 times than that granted to Indian. Simply no comparision! China is far far ahead of India in all aspects in Innovation, R&D, etc.

Please see:

http://www.wipo.int/ipstats/en/statistics/patents/pdf/patent_report_2006.pdf

Posted by: Ed at October 28, 2006 09:56 PM

Funny comparison. I would like to add my 2 cents to it. Today most of young engineers in India are attracted to software / programming field because it pays more (some time 2-3 times more) than traditional engineering field. This has resulted in some really poor quality programmers. Some companies in India also have little option as they have large outsourcing projects to complete.

Posted by: Kripal Singh at October 30, 2006 10:26 AM

I'm sorry I didn't see this thread earlier. I have a somewhat unique background in that I've been VP, Business Development for the two largest U.S.-focused China-based ITO firms, i.e., Worksoft and Beyondsoft. I've also lived in China for nearly three years during which I met with over 100 ITO firms in over 20 different cities. And as additional background, prior to moving to China I was VP, E-Business Strategies at the META Group; I was META's analyst covering ITO.

So, let me add a bit of perspective that won't be too easy to find. First, comparing programmers in this fashion is silly. What does it really prove? The only thing I get out of Dong's dribble is more Chinese neo-Fascism/ultra-Nationalism (and I experience this everyday). Second, if Objectiva's programmers are doing such a great job, how come they're growing at a much slower rate than many other firms (such as the ones I've worked at)? Bad marketing, I guess. ;-) Third, India knows apps, China doesn't. This is the most important difference. Indian firms can service end users on a global basis; this is EXTREMELY difficult for China-based firms.

BTW, for what it's worth, the best pure play in China is iSoftStone. However, my top choices are Augmentum, Achievo (although I'm a bit concerned about their endless M&A activities), Freeborders and Objectiva. But the reasons have little to do with programming skills and much more to do with due dilligence, cultural fit and a host of other issues.

For a slightly dated review of this, see http://doiop.com/risk . An updated version appeared in the printed Summer issue of AlwaysOn.

Posted by: David Scott Lewis at November 7, 2006 09:53 AM

Shameful article. Chinese and Indians are both smart people. If you took one look at the kind of cultural creativity that China produced before the communists took over, you'd know that the Chinese do not lack any creative intelligence. If India had been under communist rule for 50 years like China, then they would seem stulted too.

Posted by: Arjun at November 8, 2006 10:45 PM

The general tendency in the posts appear to have a chauvinistic attitude. In reality there is no comparison. China and India will grow because they form a huge market. The population which was the bane of India now gives a glimmer of hope as a huge market. China has seen focussed development because of an authoritarian system, while India is an example of democratic indecisiveness derailing development. It is a known fact that china is ahead of India in terms of development, but as a developed country, it would be good for India.

Posted by: k at November 12, 2006 01:27 AM

The India-China debate is useful and awakening especially in the developed world! Given that the chinese programmers come cheaper, Indians will be very happy moving on to value added IT (process innovation & management). Here the Chinese will find it real hard to compete. In te world of today superieur innovation and management capabilities are a key.

India started economic liberalisation a decade later than the Chinese. In the world of today, nothing can beat freedom, creative chaos and management capabilities in which India has a definite edge.

The valuable experience Indian borns have earned at top corporations across the world will also come in handy. Chinese have nothing of the sort to show off!

In fact, Indians and Americans have created business modeles like offshore! I bet Indians and Americans combined have the capability to shake the very foundations of China if they act too arrogant.

Finally, thank god we are all humans. My suggestion would be reduce deep poverty in India and China.. and think of innovative ways of having a partnership rather than a conflict!

Posted by: Rashim KAKKAR at November 13, 2006 11:42 AM

I have been to India, and have made many great friends there. India is a great country, with a bright future. The greatest worry I have for India and it's peaceful, federalist, secular state, is the Islamic Republic of Pakistan on it's Northern border, and the Indian Muslim minority. There is a lot of jealousy there about India/Hindu success. Musharaf is holding down a society with a lot of internal disfunction that could burst into a sectarian agressor.

There is only one difference between India and China that matters. Intellectual Freedom.

An Indian can walk into a bookshop in any Indian city and buy whatever book he wants. The Indian can look at any website on the web. The Indian can phone whoever he wants in another country. the Indian can attend any course whether technical or non-technical to further his ability. The Indian can expand his mind and his horizon. And this is very much part of the Hindu culture.

The Chinese programmer will work very hard and likewise is very talented. He is restrained by the needs of the Party. He is only allowed see a portion of the world that agrees with what the party says. He is not allowed intellectual freedom to develop like the Indians.

If the Indian programmers are better, then the winners will be the Chinese people. Because they will be able to say, if we want to move forward we must follow India. The Chinese people will learn about the necessity for intellectual freedom. Not having intellectual freedom makes China more susceptible to Western vices. But free thinking India seems much better equiped for the challenges of modern society-equiped from within. Therefore for China's own sake, China needs intellectual freedom.

Posted by: Free-T1bet at November 27, 2006 02:48 PM

This is not a good discussion, Because China and India(also rest of world) should complement each other's strengths rather than chauvinistic discussions as is visible from some people's comments.

Also India and China are doing big deals at political and business level , because govts of both counries know that they need each other.

Mr Steve,

As a responsible global citizen you need to have a better discussion topics .. like "how India and China can complement each other for better tommorow where more people have a better opportunities and better health

Indian living in USA, who is been to china many times and enjoyed a lot, very nice respectful and hard working people.

Posted by: IMG at December 3, 2006 08:17 PM

Here's a thought: instead of India vs China vs US or whatever, how about we see how we can all work together for the benefit of humanity as a whole? How about we cooperate so we produce the best goods and services at reasonable rates, so any person, anywhere in the world, benefits?

And, no more wars. If we cooperate economically, intellectually and culturally, (even though companies can compete), the world will be a much better place for all of us.

Posted by: Indian at December 11, 2006 04:30 AM

A number of Chinese posters have written about how the Chinese are low key and just go about doing their work, while Indians just brag arrogantly. I'm of Indian descent and have worked with both Chinese and Indian companies. Sadly, I have to agree with the Chinese posters. I have dealt with mom & pop small Indian consulting firms and I have dealt with large companies like TCS, Infosys and HCL. I can tell you without a doubt that Indian companies are bragging more than they should. To hear them talk now, one gets the feeling that it was due to their brilliance and strategic thinking that they got to this place in outsourcing. How quickly they have forgotten that the only reason they got their foot in the door was because they were brought in as low cost labour to fix the Y2K coding. The fact is that coding produced by most Indian companies is not worth a whole lot. The pricing advantage is a myth, especially in relation to the cost. Let me quote a simple example. To get a relatively straightforward website with Content Management System incorporated, I contacted a number of Indian and Malaysian based development firms. On average, I found that many of the Indian companies were not even aware of what a CMS was, much less about using OPensource CMS products like Joomla and Mambo. Furthermore, to do the same scope of work, Indian companies on average were 3-4 times the cost of the Malaysian companies. India has a chance to do something good in the IT space. HOwever, the head honchos of the major firms are all infatuated with technical people running everything from sales to accounting. If they would get their heads out of the sand and entrust the sales process to professional salespeople, like they do in the U.S. or other Western countries, Indian companies would be truly formidable. However, as long as they continue to rely on engineers to do their selling, they will not succeed to the level they can and they WILL be overtaken by the Chinese at some point. The one thing people don't understand about the Chinese is that they work under the radar. They are actively working towards beating India, not just for strategic competitive purposes, but also for the sake of improving their base. Towards that, the Chinese government will provide the necessary strategic support, e.g. the ability to import the tools necessary to get the job done faster, to learn better, etc. In India, we have a bunch of thieving government bureaucrats who are not worth as much as toilet paper. THey sit and make up rules to stifle growth. They don't allow anyone to import things freely that will help the IT industry or any industry for that matter grow. Just look at the pathethic quality of Indian manufactured goods. You can couple that with the Indian lack of creativity and you have a recipe for disaster. I for one predict that the Indian edge in the IT outsourcing industry will be lost within the next two decades. Having dealt with IT firms from the U.S. to Malaysia, Hong Kong and India, I can emphatically state that every other Asian country nipping on India's heels will make tremendous inroads into the Indian book of business. It will not be just because they can code better, it will mainly be because of the Indian arrogance and hubris over their percieved superiority. My advice to all Indians on this blog and all Indian companies, Get off your high horse and get innovative. Get real good trained sales people to do your selling. If necessary, pay the money necessary and get good American salespeople. Provide for better education and foster better creativity. Finally, learn best practices in coding, as opposed to simply relying on the crutch of CMM certification. I have heard that CMM story in many presentations and we used to laugh about it. It was the typical technical engineer turned salesperson thing to do. Talk about meaningless CMM certification to business people who were more interested in solving a business pain, rather than hear about technical certification mumbo jumbo. Wake up India, and get moving on these things, because before you know it, the Chinese will beaten the crap out of us.

Posted by: P.A. Zarami at December 23, 2006 09:39 PM

If you really want to know how India and China match to each other, look at how much they achieved in sports competition. That may give us a true picture!

Posted by: harmon at December 24, 2006 11:51 AM

I think Steve has acheived what he wanted...to start long debate and conversation about a stupid topic with no base.

Posted by: satya at December 27, 2006 05:50 AM

This is mediocre discussion at best and stupidity at worst. What is the reason to compare China and India? Who cares?

Let's not forget the basic rule: Companies go to places where they get cheap labor, quality goods, in time. This is common sense. As an Indian, and in IT field, it pains for me to see 'they speak English', 'others are hard working', 'some smell bad'.. (yes people tell all these) about others.. X group is hardworking, Y has good infrastructure, etc. etc.

Isn't it time, we devote much attention on writing/architecting/analysing good software and enhance our knowledge than mud-slinging? I even feel that the time I had spent reading/writing here would have been better spent reading an interesting article..

common folks.. no malice. let's make this world a better place. happy new year.

Posted by: Cheri at December 28, 2006 10:35 AM

Its not true wat he had said is just theorotical not practical.And more you cant compare two developers depending upon the line of codes.

There are lot of factors that have to be considered.

whatever you say must have some base to it.

Posted by: Pankaj at January 18, 2007 04:06 AM

If you were to put on a bid on a multi million dollar contract for a huge outsourcing project, what would you do ? When you want your project to be completed within all the crieteria and standards you request by time.

Since Its your money , therfore you will hire the best think-tank or rocket scientist to rule out whose the best for the job.

If always Indians wre the chosen ones, or the contract winniners - then I beleive the person who pay millions for any outsourcing job knows best whos the best of the best for the money.

Posted by: Richard at January 20, 2007 06:56 PM

Some very interesting discussion on China and India's development in the World Economy.

Posted by: Giacomo at February 8, 2007 04:22 PM

India and China are definitely infront of each other in terms of growth, future can be IndiChina/Chindia but this countries need to work together and create a third global force after USA and EU. It can be like USA, EU, INCH/CHIN.

Political will has to be changed for a better future of worlds two largest populous nations.

Every one in this countries need to understand each others strengths and wicknesses and understand in colloboration they can scale many heights and of course gain developed nationhoods sooner than competition among themselves.

And this will be in betterment of our own World itself.

Posted by: vijay kurhade at February 10, 2007 04:05 PM

nice dicussion :) about India and China...

Posted by: shame at February 26, 2007 10:31 AM

Being a software programmer is such a far away memory for me. As a Taiwanese/Chinese, I went thru US graduate schools w/ some really brilliant Indian classmates, 1980s. Those days most of us are humble, even the Chinese and Indians almost made the enitire engineering class.

Now the Chinese and Indians have come a long way, I hope the newly found confindence is not directed against each other but focused on making this a better world for all of us.

Posted by: Peter Wang at March 5, 2007 02:36 PM

In an article published in 2003 called “Can India overtake China?” Tarun Khanna of Harvard Business School and I argued that India’s domestic corporate sector – strengthened by the country’s rule of law, its democratic processes and relatively healthy financial system – was a source of substantial competitive advantage over China. At that time, the notion that India might be more competitive than China was greeted with wide derision.

Two years later, India appears to have permanently broken out of its leisurely “Hindu rate of growth”– an annual gross domestic product increase of around 2 to 3 per cent – and its performance is beginning to approach the east Asian level. From April to June 2005, India’s GDP grew at 8.1 per cent, compared with 7.6 per cent in the same period the year before. More impressively, India is achieving this result with just half of China’s level of domestic investment in new factories and equipment, and only 10 per cent of China’s foreign direct investment. While China’s GDP growth in the last two years remained high, in 2003 and 2004 it was investing close to 50 per cent of its GDP in domestic plant and equipment – roughly equivalent to India’s entire GDP. That is higher than any other country, exceeding even China’s own exalted levels in the era of central planning. The evidence is as clear as ever: China’s growth stems from massive accumulation of resources, while India’s growth comes from increasing efficiency.

The microeconomic evidence also casts India in a better light. While India’s stock market has soared in recent years, the opposite has happened in China. In 2001, the Shanghai Stock Market index reached 2,200 points; by 2005, half the wealth wiped out. In April 2005, the Shanghai index stood at 1,135 points. This sharp deterioration occurred against a backdrop of GDP growth exceeding 9 per cent a year. It is difficult to find another country that has this strange combination of superb macroeconomic performance and dismal microeconomic performance. It is a matter of time before the two patterns converge.

Why, then, is India gaining strength? Economists and analysts have habitually derided India’s inability to attract FDI. This single-minded obsession with FDI is as strange as it is harmful. Academic studies have not produced convincing evidence that FDI is the best path to economic development compared with responsible economic policies, investment in education and sound legal and financial institutions. In fact, one can easily think of counter examples. Brazil was a darling of foreign investors in the 1960s but ultimately let them down. Japan, Korea and Taiwan received little FDI in the 1960s and 1970s but became among the world’s most successful economies.

An economic litmus test is not whether a country can attract a lot of FDI but whether it has a business environment that nurtures entrepreneurship, supports healthy competition and is relatively free of heavy handed political intervention. In this regard, India has done a better job than China. From India emerged a group of world-class companies ranging from Infosys in software, Ranbaxy in pharmaceuticals, Bajaj Auto in automobile components and Mahindra in car assembly. This did not happen by accident.

Although it has many flaws, India’s financial system did not discriminate against small private companies the way the Chinese financial system did. Infosys benefited from this system. It was founded by seven entrepreneurs with few political connections who nevertheless managed, without significant hard assets, to obtain capital from Indian banks and the stock market in the early 1990s. It is unimaginable that a Chinese bank would lend to a Chinese equivalent of an Infosys.

With few exceptions, the world-class manufacturing facilities for which China is famous are products of FDI, not of indigenous Chinese companies. Yes, “Made in China” labels are still more ubiquitous than “Made in India” ones; but what is made in China is not necessarily made by China. Soon, “Made in India” will be synonymous with “Made by India” and Indians will not just get the wage benefits of globalisation but will also keep the profits – unlike so many cases in China.

Pessimism about India has often been proved wrong. Take, for example, the view that India lacks Chinese-level infrastructure and therefore cannot compete with China. This is another “China myth” – that the country grew thanks largely to its heavy investment in infrastructure. This is a fundamentally flawed reading of its growth story. In the 1980s, China had poor infrastructure but turned in a superb economic performance. China built its infrastructure after – rather than before – many years of economic growth and accumulation of financial resources. The “China miracle” happened not because it had glittering skyscrapers and modern highways but because bold economic liberalisation and institutional reforms – especially agricultural reforms in the early 1980s – created competition and nurtured private entrepreneurship.

For both China and India, there is a hidden downside in the obsession with building world-class infrastructure. As developing countries, if they invest more in infrastructure, they invest less in other things. Typically, basic education, especially in rural areas, falls victim to massive investment projects, which produce tangible and immediate results. China made a costly mistake in the 1990s: it created many world-class facilities, but badly under-invested in education. Chinese researchers reveal that a staggering percentage of rural children could not finish secondary education. India, meanwhile, has quietly but persistently improved its educational provisions, especially in the rural areas. For sustainable economic development, the quality and quantity of human capital will matter far more than those of physical capital. India seems to have the right policy priorities and if China does not invest in rural education soon, it may lose its true competitive edge over India – a well-educated and skilled work-force that drives manufacturing success.

Unless China embarks on bold institutional reforms, India may very well outperform it in the next 20 years. But, hopefully, the biggest beneficiary of the rise of India will be China itself. It will be forced to examine the imperfections of its own economic model and to abandon its sense of complacency acquired in the 1990s. China was light years ahead of India in economic liberalisation in the 1980s. Today it lags behind in critical aspects, such as reform that would permit more foreign investment and domestic private entry in the financial sector. The time to act is now.

Posted by: VJ at March 6, 2007 05:44 AM

Who would have thought two decades back that we will be talking of China & India as rivals to the western world. Today, Americans & Europeans feel afraid. Their positions are threatened. And some them like in France would like a closed economy.

They say: Give us Capitalism when we go shopping but keep it out from our job markets or trade imbalance.

I think ChinIndia are wake up calls for the developed world.

The wake call being, either you open up and be fair or you perish!

I envision that the marketing models, products will change to such an extent in the coming decades that it will become impossible for closed western companies to compete.

Go to India for outsourcing and to China if you want your future secured.

Make trade in favour of the developing world because that's the solution to elevating mass poverty. Let each citizen of this world benefit.

To western governments & closed companies : This is the time to change and move towards creating a more equitable world because if you don't, the ChinIndia's and perhaps tomorrow Africa will eat you up!

The earth turns every day around itself not just once! So move on and adapt to the change and if possible make it a better place!

You have the power now. It might not last. Change business and capitalistic models to suit all not just a few western faces! If you don't these models will come back and haunt you more fiercely than ever!

Posted by: RK_France at March 9, 2007 02:20 PM

China becomes world economy engine number 1:

China - gross domestic product growth:

http://www.euroekonom.com/Graphs-html/gdp-china-1980-2020.html

China - gross domestic product:

http://www.euroekonom.com/Graphs-html/gdp-china.html

http://www.euroekonom.com/Graphs-html/gdp-top10-2005.html

Oil consumption - China (1995-2020):

http://www.euroekonom.com/Graphs-html/oil-consumption-china2.html

India becomes world economy engine number 2:

http://www.euroekonom.com/Graphs-html/gdp-india.html

Posted by: Konfucius at March 10, 2007 06:56 AM

No chineese in here? Lets see...first of all, most blogs are banned in China. Secondly, the language is a huge problem.

Now..here is a controversial statement coming up. I think as Indians, we are more consultancy oriented which is one of the primary reasons why the outsourcing wave caught up. Some top notch VCs to consultants to start ups to major global corporations are Indian. The chineese however are narrower in approach...which by itself talks about the maner in which they are going about building their economyl. And in response to those of you that think democracy really doesnt end up making a difference, hehe.....the next time you wanna goto Californiam let the government stop myou because your from say a poorer state.....youl know what it means to you and how it drives productivity!

So, dun give me crap on the so called 'self assumed parity between a democratic and an autocratic society'

Thirdly, Anyone out here that has done busines in CHina would have realized that on paper, they look much better to business with, but once you put your steak on the ground,


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