Safon, V. (2008), "IT and the East: How China and India Are Altering the Future of Technology and Innovation", Management Decision, Vol. 46 No. 5, pp. 813-814. https://doi.org/10.1108/00251740810873789
Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
IT and the East joins the growing list of publications such as The Elephant and the Dragon by Robyn Meredith, whose aim is to give an insight on present‐day China and India from the business perspective. The book is written in a typically direct and simple style by two Gartner Consulting analysts who are experts on China and India. The book is principally aimed at chief information officers and other information technology decision‐makers in global enterprises. It has a general appeal for all those interested in worldwide information technology trends and how best to pursue the future of their firms in China and India, although in light of the level of analysis and the data provided, it is possible that the main target audience consists of chief executive officers and corporate development executives of firms interested in that region of the world.
The book is divided into three sections: one dedicated to China, another to India, and the third to the concept of the two countries together (referred to as Chindia). In each of them, Popkin and Iyengar analyze the past (except in the case of Chindia), present and future of these countries, proposing three different scenarios of the situation in 5 years' time, built upon two dimensions (uncertainties) and several events (milestones).
According to these authors, the uncertainties that are essential to predicting the future of China are:
the role of the government, which they view as the chief inhibitor of the tremendous potential for innovation in the country; and
the level of innovation in science and technology.
In order to understand the future of the scenarios described for China, the authors state what, in their view, are the main milestones to look out for. The first important event that might indicate the future of ICT in China is knowing what attitude the Chinese Communist Party will take after the Beijing 2008 Summer Olympic Games. Probably, a successful Olympics could accelerate the process of economic and political openness and liberalization, although there is a certain risk of the opposite happening after the Games.
Just as they do for China, Popkin and Iyengar put forward three scenarios for India's ICT industries in response to two critical uncertainties, both of which are extremely dependent on the Indian government:
the range of availability and qualifications for India's IT workforce; and
the level of India's physical infrastructure.
Finally, the authors make a prediction on the possible evolution of China and India together as a massive economic and geographic entity. As they did for China and India, they identify three scenarios, whose main uncertainties are:
the progress of cross‐border ties among various Chinese and Indian organizations and constituent groups; and
the country's ability to synchronize policies on major diplomatic and commercial issues.
According to these authors, every firm in the world should design a China and India strategy, that looks further than outsourcing or offshore development, and they should analyze each country separately and together (Chindia). As a guideline for these strategies, the authors end the book by proposing eight strategies for making the most of opportunities in China, India, and Chindia for the most likely scenarios. In each strategy they propose a course of action and underline the competencies that will be necessary for successfully reaching the objectives of the strategy.
Overall, the book is useful and interesting. The scenarios it proposes are highly convincing and, unless there is an unexpected economic or political international crisis, they are the only foreseeable and reasonably acceptable situations five years from now. The book helps to formulate a global strategy for China and India, which makes it perhaps more appropriate reading for a chief executive officer than for a chief information officer.