Successful Business Seminar in Lund about the New India

Stig Victorin, SIBC, Staffan Lindberg, SASNET, and Ingemar Ljungdahl, Telelogic. Key persons at the successful business seminar in Lund.

Read the full programme (as a pdf-file)

Venue: Ideon Science Park, 23 May 2007.

The seminar was organised jointly by the Sweden-India Business Council (SIBC), the Swedish South Asian Studies Network (SASNET) and Ideon Science Park in Lund. Stig Victorin, Senior Advisor to SIBC, and General Manager for TradeAsia Consulting, was the driving organiser behind the seminar. Staffan Lindberg, Professor of Sociology at Lund University (and SASNET Director) was the moderator.
There were about 50 participants, mostly from business companies in southern Sweden, and some people from Lund University.

The New India”, referred to in the title of the seminar, is related to the dramatic changes that have taken place in the Indian economy during the last 25 years, Prof. Staffan Lindberg stated in his opening lecture.
Today the overall growth rate is about 8-9 percent per annum and at the same time the proportion of poor people fast reducing, he said.
After the Green revolution, a development in services was the first to come. More lately, Indian industry has started a phenomenal growth in all sectors. A development partly triggered by the liberalisation of the Indian economy in the beginning of the 1990s, but something that had actually begun already in the mid-80s.

India has a large home market, but receives much less direct foreign investments (DFI) than China, which means that there is a great potential for new investments and collaborations. With this development the Indian middle class is growing rapidly creating purchasing power for a wide range of goods and services. It is today variously estimated somewhere between 60 and 200 million people, depending on how the definition of ”middle class” is made.

Susanna BillFor example, there are currently 200 million mobile phone owners in India, a figure that is growing with about 6 million every month.
Nokia has won around 70 % of the market, but Sony Ericsson is now trying to take up the competition with new models specially made for the Indian market. Sony Ericsson opens up a factory in Chennai during 2007, and the company hopes to increase its market share from about 5 %.
The trick is to design new and thrilling models attracting the young generation, said Susanna Bill (photo to the left), Lund based Innovation Manager in the company.

Telelogic is a Malmö based company established in 1983, working with Integrated System Management for both private and public businesses and organisations. The car industry is one of their big customers. The company is now well established in India, in Bangalore where Telelogic has about 300 employees. The Indian employees are highly qualified and has been away for training in Europe and the US. They now work on the development of new systems applications in three important fields in India. The Indian company offers god value for the money since wages are lower and the employees highly skilled.
Ingemar Ljungdahl, Technical Director of the company, in his lecture was very optimistic about the future of the firm in India.

Ann-Charlotte SukhiaBut doing business in India requires patience and a knowledge of cultural codes. Anne-Charlotte Sukhia (photo to the left) from ACS Interkulturell Utbildning held a very interesting presentation of the differences in business cultures between India and Sweden. Business and friendship cannot easily be separated in India but also takes time to develop. Gifts to family members and children are highly appreciated, but any mention of 'cuts' or other favours is highly detested. Indians have had enough of 'Bofors' scandals and wants to be taken seriously.
With strong friendship ties and sharing of gains and losses, Indians however become very reliable partners in expanding business. They want to stay in the firm, the turnover of employees in Swedish-Indian firms is low and makes for stable expansions. And once getting used to the functioning of Swedish companies, Indians like flat and effective organisations and they perform durifully in this setting. This is so despite the fact that they are all very embedded in caste and family-kinship networks (more than 95 % marry within their own community). Friends are classificatory kin and intimate relations develop between men, like holding hands while walking in the street. However, close body contact with the opposite sex is not tolerated.

Otherwise things fall out nicely, Ann-Charlotte Sukhia says. Indian institutions and the legal system are very British and stable, the democratic system is very secure, the language of communication is English, and it is in fact rather easy for Europeans to learn Hindi, since it is also an Indo-European language.
With the technical skill and organisational efficiency that Swedish business companies possess, it should be easy to invest more in India and get access to big and fast expanding markets. In the initial phase, companies already established there could offer networks of advisors and consultants to set a stable course for the journey to India.

Sarbajit DebStaffan Lindberg, text
Lars Eklund, photos

The daily newspaper Sydsvenska Dagbladet in Malmö covered the seminar extensively, publishing two articles in the paper on Thursday 24 May 2007. The articles, written by the journalist Elisabeth Andersson, were titled ”Växande indiskt intresse för Sverige” (based on interviews with Mr. Aditya Prakash, Stockholm based Representative for the Invest in Sweden Agency, ISA, and Mr. Sarbajit Deb (photo to the right), Copenhagen based Nordic Area Director for Larsen & Toubro Infotech Limited); and ”…och nu storsatsar Sony Ericsson på indiska telefonkunder” (based on Susanna Bill’s lecture). Read the articles (in Swedish, as a pdf-file)

Lunds Universitet Meddelar (LUM), the Lund University magazine, published an article about the seminar in its 6/2007 issue. The journalist Göran Frankel has written an article titled ”Indien kommer starkt”. Read the article (in Swedish, as a pdf-file) new

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