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  • ~ By Charmaine Mirza

    China’s planned One Belt One Road Initiative

    With general elections taking place across India, a new government is already in the making. In a two part series, Inchin Closer takes a look on what the new Indian administration should focus on with China, her largest neighbour and trading partner. From natural resources to national security, curbing terrorism to regional policy, are there ways for Asia’s largest nations to work with one another?

    In the first part of this series, we take a look at the geopolitics of South Asia and the role that these two giants play.


    China’s Maritime Strategy 2015 clearly states it’s intent to increase it’s presence in the Indian Ocean. Karachi and Gwadar in Pakistan have already been named as key naval bases and China’s growing ports in Sri Lanka like Hanbantota, do nothing to ease the tension between the two navies.

    China has recently moved nuclear armed submarines into the Indian Ocean, creating a series of “pressure points” in the South Asian seas, which is directly at odds with India’s “Act East” policy that aims to strengthen India’s presence right up to the West Pacific. China aims to increase it’s naval power exponentially – to about 350 surface warships and 100 submarines by 2030-35. India has also made heavy investments in increasing it’s naval capacity. Will the pumped up maritime muscle of these two Asian giants serve to keep each other in check?


    India achieved a major diplomatic breakthrough this week when China finally backed down at the UN Security Council, and agreed to vote in favour of Masood Azhar, the leader of Pakistan-based terrorist outfit Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), designating Azhar as a global terrorist. China’s covert support for Azhar at the UNSC has been a major sore point in relations between India and China.

    After Azhar was released to Pakistani authorities by India during a hostage exchange, he founded the JeM, which subsequently took responsibility for several major terrorism attacks in the region – most recently Pulwama in Kashmir. The exact reasons why China protected Azhar are opaque, but some strategists feel that it could be a retaliation to India’s protection of the Dalai Lama, whom the Chinese view as a dangerous separatist leader.

    But is it time for China and India to collaborate more closely with one another on military intelligence to prevent terrorist attacks in the region? A potential point of collaboration could be technology – as the smart city wave sweeps over India, perhaps China and India could work together to implement better security systems including security camera tracking systems, artificial intelligence, face scanning, biometrics and citizen data. But on the other hand, if they are instrumental in building such systems, China could also manipulate them for their own use.

    While leveraging each other’s intelligence for regional harmony would be ideal, there is still a long way to go before India, China and Pakistan reach a happy medium.


    The elexir of life, India and China’s dependance on water continues to increase even as more water bodies get polluted and fewer fresh water resources are available to a growing population.

    The Lake Mansarover’s watershed is a much sought after and fought after fresh water supply between the neighbors. While both China and India’s river systems are aplenty water is becoming a precious resource and needs to be managed effectively between the nations especially since many of India’s rivers origniate from China.

    Cooperating on sharing water resources between the two nations would be a monumental breakthrough for the entire region’s peace and stability, however Inchin Closer feels this would take a lot more time and understanding between the nations.


    The second China Belt & Road summit took place recently, but India continues to decline to participate, despite China’s insistent overtures. The reasons are many – not least of which was a diplomatic stand off, thanks to China’s veto on Azhar being designated a global terrorist. But security is not the only concern for participants of the BRI. Economics is another. Many of them feel it’s like a debt-trap – wherein China’s infrastructure investment comes at a high political and financial cost, which many of them are unable to repay. In fact, China needs to be cognizant of the economic impact of unpaid debt from the BRI on it’s own economy.

    The New Silk Road overland route connects China all the way to Europe (see map above). Italy is the latest European country to sign on. But participants have already voiced concerns over unwieldy logistics and red-tape, particularly in the Central Asian region.

    India is a wary onlooker, even as it’s regional neighbours – Sri Lanka and Pakistan – have clambered onto the bandwagon. Despite the trade advantages, several political strategists feel that it is not yet to India’s benefit to participate. However, in the long run, if the BRI is optimised and used to the mutual benefit of both countries, both India and China could benefit from it enormously – making South Asia the super power it once was. Power struggles in South Asia are nothing new, but it’s time for a fresh approach. With a new administration sweeping in to drive India forward into 2020, it would be fortuitous to have China as an ally rather than an enemy.

  • ~ By Kavita Ogale

    543 seats. Over 10 lakh polling stations. The Lok Sabha election 2019 has gathered steam and is keeping the entire country on its toes as 900 million Indians vote in the largest election in the world. Amidst all the action is the inimitable voice of one man who claims he has the power of an alchemist to turn India into a superpower. As Prime Minister Narendra Modi aims to keep term with an encore to the last elections he fought, Inchin Closer reflects on how he matches the powerful vision and ambitions of an equally dynamic leader across the border, his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping.

    Chinese President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s wish of seeing India as a superpower is not very different from Chinese President Xi Jinping’s promise of fulfilling the ‘China dream’. Both leaders strive for global recognition but while retaining a significant and strong nationalistic foundation. They both play to the galleries and have always tried to reach out to the masses, gaining from the populist mileage they create in their wake. Both Xi and Modi came to power around the same time. Xi took over the reigns of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in 2013 and has been architecting its destiny at an unprecedented pace, fiercely protective about the nation’s sovereignty and undeterred in his zeal for economic supremacy across the world. Modi was elected Prime Minister in 2014, largely supported by the antagonism against the then existing Congress party rule and fuelled by a strategically sound front put up by the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP).

    Wearing their absolute loyalty to their respective parties as a badge of honour, they are both not known to mince words when it comes to critiquing rivals who may try to overshadow their vision. Both have also been extremely diligent when it comes to forging close ties with neighbours and fostering a durable foreign policy that hinges on mutual co-operation. Modi is only two countries short of Xi’s score of visiting 39 countries in a span of merely two years, underlining the need for a revival of faith in their countries’ international stature.

    Of course, one must admit that Xi has a relatively easier ground to operate on, in a nation that is unified and bound by the common desire for social empowerment. As a representative of a country that has multi-faceted complexities and is distinctly diverse in religion, language and community within its very borders, Modi is still dependent on the vote of his people dictated by the edicts of the world’s largest democracy. To tide through the bureaucratic mess and the opposition’s chaos in a country like India takes both endurance and tact.

    President Xi is poised at the epicentre of control in a socialist state that gives him immense freedom in taking decisive steps when it comes to international trade and investment. This has manifested in several nations across Southeast and Central Asia to Africa becoming ready allies to China’s resource-rich promise of infrastructural growth. Modi on the other hand, must navigate through a circuitous path to channelise his moves, beset by an unyielding and highly resistant system of slow-moving institutions and processes.

    As chairman of the Central Military Commission, Xi exerts firm control over the technological development and rapid modernisation of China’s weaponry system. His revolutionisation of the military, airforce and naval artillery is aimed at self-defense, with an eye on spreading its influence in the South China Sea, the Pacific and the Indian Ocean.

    Modi’s military moves although relatively restrained in comparison have been coldly calculated and promptly deployed to counter terrorism, winning him plaudits more than brickbats. While some consider the successive surgical strikes after the Uri and Pulwama tragedies as a fitting military reply to terrorism- it has also labelled him an ‘autocrat’ who is seeking self-aggrandisement at the cost of impaling the democracy.

    It is clear that Modi will win the elections only through consensus of the majority unlike President Xi’s one-party monopoly. His emphasis will remain on staying true to his resolute and steadfast reputation of taking India from being a frequently undermined developing nation to the third largest economy after China and the US by 2030. His clarion call for national integration, flourishing commerce and solidarity with countries beyond one’s own mirror Xi’s ruling principles and are most likely to see him through as one of India’s unrivalled ambassadors of favourable geopolitical and domestic progress.

  • ~ By Nazia Vasi; as published in China India Dialogue

    Andhadhun or 调音师 in Mandarin has grossed $ 31.57 mn in China within 2 weeks of its release.

    Fueled by cash flows and expanding channels of communication, China and India are awakening to a third round of bilateral brotherhood, focused on cultural exchange.

    I was living in Shanghai and working as the Indian head of an Asian tax and legal consultancy in 2008 at a time when cultural exchange between China and India left plenty to be desired. Indian art and cultural performances touring China’s major cities attracted mostly Indian spectators, who enjoyed wallowing in song and dance from their mother- land because of homesickness. Chinese people tended to be rare at these cultural events.

    Many reasons could be blamed for the phenomenon— awareness of India in China was low at the time. Most Chinese didn’t know India as the software superpower it is today. Its economy was gently growing 3.9 percent annually. Most Chinese hadn’t traveled to India, were not particularly interested in it and hadn’t heard too much about it. India was a poorer, slower and smaller neighbor and mostly inconsequential to China, which had a GDP growth of 9.7 percent.

    However, in 2017, an influx of investments led by Alibaba and Tencent who announced or closed deals valued or nearing US$2 billion, heralded a renewed Chinese interest in India’s flourishing soft power.

    China and India have had a rich tradition of exchange dating back centuries. The first wave was led by Xuanzang’s journey to the West and the spread of Buddhism across China. The second round was fueled by business, initially through the trade of cotton and tea and eventually the more lucrative opium. Today, fueled by cash flows and expanding channels of communication, China and India
    are re-awakening to a third round of bilateral brotherhood focused on cultural exchange.


    Aamir Khan’s movie 3 Idiots grossed US$3 million in China just a few years ago, helping cement India’s image as an enchanting, colorful nation capable of fascinating the Chinese.

    Today, film cooperation between India and China is booming. Inchin Closer, a China-India language and cultural consultancy I founded in 2010, is in the thick of translating an animation script for a 5D film that was written in and will be produced in India but shown in 5D theaters in China. This project is making the most of India’s film production skills and China’s infrastructural abilities.

    Also in the works is a pilot for a Chinese TV series, exclusively created, scripted and produced in India solely for the Chinese audience. Considering that China is home to the greatest number of screens world- wide, the content consumed by the country’s story-hungry consumers has skyrocketed, and media producers in Beijing are bending over backwards to meet the rising demand. Unable to keep up with the demand themselves, domestic Chinese producers are commissioning Indian production companies to make TV shows specially for the Chinese audience. A trend never imagined before, China is now looking to India for her rich storytelling, film- making and production abilities to create world-class content that can be seamlessly sold to audiences from Shanghai to Kashgar.

    Concurrently, Chinese content is also being created for Indian eyes. Translated from Chinese to Hindi is a Beijing-based TV series of historical Chinese stories that will be subtitled and dubbed for air on Indian networks. Stories from the Qin Dynasty will be shown on Indian TVs soon, highlighting ancient traditions and customs—similarities our two nations share. Indian audiences will witness the parallels that Indian and Chinese historical dramas, mythology and epics share.

    The secret to making Bollywood movies so spicy is creative chaos, an element that China’s films seem to lack. India’s film industry functions in a mad sync that only its insiders understand. Until China’s film industry can harness its creative juices and pour out unbridled passion, storytelling will remain India’s strength.

    The cultural similarities between China and India have proved a big advantage for the latter when creating content for the mobile-screen-toting, binge-watching Chinese viewer. Modern twists on
    love stories and mythological epics are especially high in demand, and just what Indian production houses—skilled in the genre— are being commissioned to write by Chinese media companies. Beijing is now looking to Mumbai, the capital of India’s film industry, to learn from and accelerate its storytelling and film production capabilities.

    Recently, a high-level government delegation led by Mr. Feijin Du, member of the Standing Committee of the CPC Beijing Municipal Committee, visited Mumbai and New Delhi. Delegates met film producers, the head of the Mumbai Film Festival and government officials to work out plans to host bilateral film festivals. The agenda was clearly designed to facilitate learning the secrets of Bollywood.

    5D  films and TV series are not the only carriers of the cultural collision between China and India. Interest in both nations’ literature has also swelled. A translation of Amar Chitra Katha’s graphic novel on Mahatma Gandhi is now in the works. The novel has already been translated into Chinese and will soon be available at bookstores and for online downloads, enabling Chinese readers to understand how India fought for independence against the British with non-violent means.


    Alongside the media, other technology has enabled Indians and the Chinese to traverse cultural barriers. Many have fallen in love, married and moved to the other country, adapting to family values, traditions and a new way of life. Xiao Ming is one example: Now a mother of three children, she married Gautam, a software engineer from Bangalore, India’s Silicon Valley, nine years ago. Today, she earns a lucrative living translating documents between Chinese and English, the languages of business for China and India.

    Xiao Ming is a member of a constantly growing WeChat group of Chinese wives who are married to Indian men. The group, with almost 200 members, was started about six years ago when a few women came together to support each other in a foreign land. Although few have met each other, the group is an extremely strong support network to help the newly married settle into India’s chaotic cities. The most discussed topic in the group is food. The women help each other recreate dishes from home in Indian cities where Chinese ingredients aren’t easily accessible. One woman even figured out how to make tofu from scratch since the Indian paneer (cottage cheese) never came close in taste or texture. Other topics of conversation range from how to deal with in-laws, experiences growing up as single children in China, and raising kids in a multicultural home.

    Many enjoyed boisterous Indian weddings. Marriages in India, like in Bollywood movies, are colorful and peppered with lots of song and dance. However, traditional Hindu weddings involve the couple circumambulating around a fire to the tempo of a priest chanting ‘mantras’ or blessings for the couple. Inchin Closer was recently called to translate these mantras for a Chinese bride’s family who had travelled from Hunan Province for their daughter’s marriage to Prashant. The Chinese side of the wedding party was enthusiastic about understanding the meaning behind the customs and rituals.


    Jankee, a professional Indian singer, was recently invited to sing a Chinese song at a traditional Indian wedding. The groom’s family had some important Chinese clients at his wedding and wanted to impress them. So Jankee was enlisted to learn and sing Mandarin pop songs to impress and entertain the Chinese clientele at the wedding.

    Because Mandarin remains China’s primary language, producers must make content in Mandarin. However, because of its vital role in bridging relations in business, the number of Indians interested in learning Mandarin has skyrocketed. Businesspeople, traders, merchants, entrepreneurs and professionals all want to learn the language so they can seamlessly do business in China. Speaking Mandarin gives them a big advantage. They can communicate easily with clients, which establishes a channel of trust and camaraderie, which translates into better prices and profits in India.

    China is also drawing in Indian youth with opportunities to experience the country and culture first- hand through programs such as those offering attractive scholarships to study Mandarin. In 2010, approximately 80 Indian students were offered scholarships to study Mandarin and by 2018, the number had almost doubled to 150. Studying, living and working in China not only offers Indians firsthand experience in the country, but also helps them make friends and build a lasting relationship with their neighbor.

    Through these various channels, strengthening of cultural relations between peoples of the world’s two most populated nations is on the upswing. This third wave of cultural camaraderie is fueling stronger relations between China and India. And through the intermingling of the threads that bind our people, our nations will weave an ornate quilt of love, respect and a deeper understanding of each other.

  • How English is a language of exchange and empowerment for both nations

    By Kavita Ogale

    When Chinese blogger Hua Qianfang recently commented on Weibo that English learning is ‘a trash skill for most Chinese that wastes countless energy and money’ he met with stiff resistance. Not surprisingly though – A major chunk of both China and India’s burgeoning youth population aspire for better economic growth and opportunities, social status and global exposure, and is  their English golden ticket to a more prosperous future,

    The English education market in China grew from RMB 123.6 billion (USD 18.4 billion) to RMB 489.7 billion (USD 72.9 billion) between 2016 to 2017, and is estimated to grow to RMB 947 billion (USD 141 billion) this year, according to a report by by Daxue Consulting a China focused market research company.

    Spurred by this high demand, the need for English teachers in China is at an all-time high. Both offline and online training beyond schools is being sought after, whether in the form of brick and mortar institutions or apps. The online English language market in China itself has roped in an investment of RMB 1.8 billion (USD 0.2 billion) in 2017. Over 500,000 Chinese students enrolled in online English training companies like VIPKid.

    India is in the lead with an English speaking population of 125 million[; which gives her an advantage especially in International service oriented jobs such as call centers. China’s English speaking population is estimated at 10 million.

    The language that went up a hill and came down a mountain

    India, of course, has its British colonial past and statesman Thomas Babington Macaulay to be thanked for English making inroads in the education system in the 19th century (around 1830), in order to ease British bureaucratic processes.

    While the foray of English entry in China dates back to the 17th century, it was only in 1862 that the country adopted a scholastic approach to teaching the language. However, the institution of the People’s Republic led to seismic changes in foreign language education, where learning English was aborted during the Cultural Revolution.  The death of Mao Zedong ushered in a renaissance for the English language owing to Deng Xiaoping’s Open Door policy, building the foundation of contemporary China’s political and economic voice in years to come. This is the reason why English remains India’s lingua franca for government and business, while Mandarin remains China’s language  

    The writing is on the wall. Global powers through the centuries have been represented by countries that are driven by English as their spoken and written form of communication. When 20% of the world’s population speaks one tongue which is also the most sought after foreign language being learnt across the globe, it certainly cannot be ignored.

    Nationalistic naysayers may deride the elitist westernisation that English represents for China and advocate keeping its spread in check. Inchin Closer, however, believes that as both India and China take competitive strides to answer the call of industry, environment, trade, travel and education on the world stage, English will continue to resonate as the go-to language to counter the communication gaps of its masses and classes.

  • ~By Charmaine Mirza

    SourceL FinTech in China: An Introduction

    ‘Whoever is first in the field and awaits the coming of the enemy will be fresh for the fight; whoever is second in the field and has to hasten to battle will arrive exhausted’ – Sun Tzu, the Art of War.


    Truer words couldn’t be spoken when it comes to FinTech, China and India are choreographing an intricate two-step routine, with China taking the lead. China is spreading her roots in the Indian Subcontinent by seeding investment and sharing technology platforms with India’s burgeoning consumer economy.


    Giving people the power over their own finances, online retailers like Flipkart who are receiving funding from Chinese firms, aim to become NBFC’s (Non-banking financial corporations) in their own right, so that they can directly underwrite credit for their customers, rather than farm it out to a bank.

    The China-Eurasian Economic Cooperation Fund (CEECF), a state-backed Chinese fund has also recently backed Indian cab aggregator, Ola, which is also pursuing the NBFC route.

    In  functionality too, having seen success in-house, Chinese companies are also betting on the “EMI” (equated month instalment) and micro loan route in India, which is rapidly gaining popularity among the youth making purchases more affordable.

    Smartphone technology is driving digital payments as well as digital lending in India – and this is like offering honey to a bear. Chinese micro-lending company Fenqile and smartphone maker Xiaomi have already swarmed in and are making an investment in Bengaluru-based student lending platform KrazyBee. Xiaomi has also made another strategic investment in digital lending startup – ZestMoney, according to the Economic Times.


    The cross-pollination between China and India in fintech is also spreading to top tier talent. WeCash has recently hired several Indians onto its team, including Puneet Agarwal and Daman Soni from Mobikwik and Nitin Agarwal from Incred Finance – even as Tencent eyes an investment into Mobikwik. And we already know that some of the big names in Indian industry have already parked a strategic investment in Chinese companies, such as Ratan Tata’s stake in Xiaomi.


    However, the biggest implementation of fintech in India is yet to come with the launch of the first wave of smart-cities, and we have no doubt that Chinese technology will certainly be playing it’s part in making India’s cities “smarter.”

    Even though India and China may have the occasional bout of disputes over their geographical borders, the virtual borders are already being wiped out by technology collaborations. That’s why we feel that India and China aren’t competing with one another, but are in fact leveraging their mutual interests in the FinTech space for mutual benefit.

  • ~ By Charmaine Mirza

    Did you… just buy your airline tickets online instead of the family travel agent? Shop for your groceries on a website vs. a “kiraana dukaan”? If so, you’re already part of a fintech revolution that is sweeping Asia off it’s feet.

    In the race for adoption, China leads the pack. But India is fast catching up. Is this something that China needs to be concerned about? Not really – because when you just paid your highway toll in India using PayTM, did you realize that it’s powered by the Chinese tech powerhouse – Alibaba? Or that your last Zomato order could take place thanks to Ant Financial’s investment in them?

    China is a global fintech leader, but as the government started to cash in on the FinTech boom and spike the interest rates for home-grown companies in China, several of them have opted to look beyond the Middle Kingdom to grow their business and achieve global leadership in the FinTech space.


    The Chinese administration has clamped down recently and imposed several regulations and restrictions on financial service companies and their customers. While some people believe that this is not necessarily a bad thing, it could be the harbinger of a slow down in growth within China itself. Therefore, Ant, Tencent and others are looking at other parts of Asia to grow their business. This is precisely where India zooms into focus.

    “Alipay Singapore – the Singapore branch of Ant Financial, and Zomato have sealed a US$210 investment deal, just six months after the world’s largest fintech company made a US$150 million investment in the South Asian food delivery firm. The latest investment will be for a 10% stake in Zomato, bringing the Indian company’s valuation to around US$2 billion.

    The deal comes just as reports that Chinese internet giant Tencent plans to invest as much as US$700 million in Swiggy, Zomato’s main competitor in the Indian market, after previously accepting investments from Tencent-backed Meituan-Dianping.”


    According to a recent report by JP Morgan, fintech firms in India have only succeeded in catering to 23 percent of the affluent section of the Indian economy while a huge portion – roughly a 600-million-strong population mostly of lower- and middle-income groups still remains untapped.  Furthermore, the fintech landscape is lead by market place lending at around 29-30%. Payments and remittances come next at around 25-27%.  A plethora of categories including savings and investments, borrowings and financial planning services yet need to break into the Indian market, leaving the potential for growth not only in volume but also categories.

    The potential for growth in India, especially Bharat (rural India) is huge – and Chinese fintech companies are ready to cash in, literally. Isn’t it ironic? CEO Eric Jing says that Ant Financial got its name because ‘ants are small and its service was for the “little guys.”’ What these companies are counting on is volume led growth.

    WeCash, one of the largest players in the lending space in China has already set up shop in India, and entered with a consumer-lending product in partnership with banks. They aim to source borrowers for banks. Their goal: to target the masses – the vast number of people across various regions of the country who have remained financially underserved by traditional brick and mortar institutions.

    Is there a future? Inchin Closer certainly thinks so. In a world where currency is moving towards a paperless model, FinTech has a far more significant role to play and the Chinese have the advantage. Follow us as we bring you further insights into the future of Chinese fintech investments in India and the reasons why.

  • The tense stand off between India and China; a power play of strategy, sovereignty and territorial interests of two emerging Asian nations has the region in a tight wrap. With spillover effects into our economies and society, a clash between the Asian titians is unlikely, yet it’s going to take more than man and machine for either country to back off first.

    With autocratic leaders at their helm, both China and India need to prove to the region and world, that the other is surmountable. As both nations flex their muscles, military analysts expect to see China test India on her vulnerable Eastern border more and India fight back with equal strength and vigour to protect her territory.


    Read more

  • ~ By Charmaine Mirza

    There’s no sale without scale. Or at least not in the virtual world. Ladies and gentlemen, grab your mouse tightly – the great e-commerce chess game has begun.

    As the Amazonian giant from the USA makes its great leap into the subcontinent, local e-commerce players in India, such as Flipkart and Snapdeal are scrambling. But wait – there just maybe a silver lining in the offing, as China rubs its magic lamp and produces an investor in the form of Alibaba.

    In a dramatic move that has swiveled eyeballs in the FinTech world, Alibaba has agreed to double up on its investment – putting down 1,100 crore (Approx. US$177 million) to increase its stake in PayTM, and more significantly, launch PayTM Mall, a direct rival to homegrown e-commerce players.

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  • ~ By Charmaine Mirza

    Even as Beijing’s citizens are making “lung cleansing” trips to Antarctica and Iceland to break free of a fossil-fuel smog encased China, the Chinese government is already taking action to make its citizens breathe easier. Perhaps Delhi needs to sit up and take notice before it has to declare more “state of emergency due to pollution” scenarios, like we witnessed in 2016. India is a country with enormous elemental abundance, which can easily be harnessed to create clean, efficient, economical energy. So where do we stand versus China in this matter?

    • In China installed wind capacity has crossed 129 GW in India installed wind capacity is approximately 23.4 GW
    • Installed solar capacity is over 43 GW in China; in India installed solar capacity is just about 5 GW
    • China is aiming for 150 GW of solar and 200 GW of wind by 2020; India’s target for 2022 is 100 GW of solar and 60 GW of wind.

    The National Energy Administration is planning a massive investment in renewable energy that are cleaner, greener, and more efficient – and has committed a stupendous investment of 2.5 trillion yuan to make China’s free of its dependency on fossil fuels by 2020. India is not all that far behind as one of the top ten investors in renewable sources of energy worldwide, but it have an uphill task ahead of her.

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  • ~ by Charmaine Mirza

    “…you cannot ignore a fifth of the world’s population…as an entrepreneur, if you have the opportunity to build both Amazon and Alibaba at the same time, you’d be crazy not to try.”

    Travis Kalenick, CEO Uber.

    Is Uber’s unicorn cowboy trying to do precisely this?

    As the date for its hyped up IPO draws closer, investors are questioning whether the unicorn will be a rainmaker – or be reined in.

    On the surface, it appears as if Kalenick has sacrificed his Alibaba genie for the Amazonian advantage. After losing two billion USD initially in a head to head battle with Chinese rival Didi Chuxing, Uber has “closed” its China operations, a move that investors see as positive, given the losses it has racked up – but will it turn the tide completely for Uber’s global push?

    Inchin Closer reviews the situation from an Asian perspective.

    • Is Uber moving out of China or simply taking a strategic side-step that may light its candle at both ends – for its US IPO, and its Chinese market share?
    • Is Didi a friendly investor or a dragon crouching in the shadows, waiting for the right moment?
    • Is Uber really being bought out, as it claims, or buying in?

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  • inchin leadersAs rightly put by Shivshankar Menon, India’s former national security adviser, the relationship between India and China is clearly under stress. “We need to find a new equilibrium between elements we’ve always been juggling — economic competition and complementarity, and strategic sensitivities” – he told the Financial Times.

    The sweet and sour neighbours, China and India have recently been at loggerheads over several issues which are gaining heightened importance as both stalwart heads of state, Prime Minister Modi and President Xi take charge of their bilateral affairs.

    The buzzword is that over a slew of meetings scheduled in the next 3 months, both leaders are expected to iron out their differences and tango more in complement with each other. The first visit on August 12 was by Wang Yi, China’s foreign minister to New Delhi. The aim of the meeting was to lay the communication groundwork before the upcoming G20 Summit in Hangzhou, China and the BRICS Summit in Goa, India. In other wards, it was Mr. Wang’s agenda to make sure India doesn’t stoke dissent against the South China Sea dispute.

    During his visit, Mr. Wang met Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, National Security Adviser Ajit Doval, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and the Governor and Chief Minister of Goa. Chinese state councillor and former foreign minister Yang Jiechi, who is Beijing’s designated special representative for border negotiations is also expected to visit India soon to quell tensions that have arisen with Beijing’s unilateral support of Pakistan. The flourishing friendship between India’s tense neighbours – China and Pakistan has created a strong rift in India China relations. With China asserting her infrastructural and investment muscle in Pakistan. Mr. Yang will need to come with a strong strategy if the two nations are going to support each other in the upcoming meetings.

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  • BATWe live in an interesting investment climate, where India and China can’t either do with or without each other.

    Cross border investments in online apps and platforms are breaking traditional barriers and creating healthy, profitable companies for both nations. For the Indian start-up market to flourish, Chinese investments are important and a vital cog in the wheel that will turn the Indian economy around.

    For Chinese investors, India is a massive market, similar to theirs, with a huge growth potential. Smell a win-win situation? Yet there are hurdles, a lack of political will and diplomatic trust enter at various points in a healthy India-China relationship to often mar the smooth functioning and often put a spanner in the works. However, since there is a strong potential that the bond between India and China will withstand political head winds, Inchin Closer takes a look at the India strategy for the Big 3 Chinese investment heavy weights – Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent – or BAT as they are more commonly referred to. The article aims to demonstrate where these investment bell weathers are now and the direction they are looking at. It is expected to foretell, the direction Chinese investments into India will take and subsequently how the rest will follow.

    ALIBABA: A scion for a variety of low priced goods, Alibaba has recently tied up with Indian payments gateways Paytm to initially allow select Indian Indian sellers to source products from China at cheaper rates as well as help them with logistics and payments. India is an inevitable market for Alibaba for whom a developing market in search of cheap goods is perfect, as compared to Europe. As a result, Alibaba India already has 4.5 million registered users, making it the world’s second largest market for Alibaba after China. Additionally, Alibaba invested US$680 million into Paytm last September making it the largest investor in the mobile payments leader. In October, Alibaba joined softbank to invest US$125 million out of a consolidated investment of US$500 million into Snapdeal an online shopping portal.

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  • wagesAs India stands in the sunshine with her rising GDP projections, growing investments and overall sunny outlook over a gloomy global economy, in the shadows lurks responsibility. The responsibility of sizing her social sector up to International (read Western) standards.

    Taking a cue from her more stalwart neighbour China, India needs to know that with being a growing emerging market comes caveats of all kinds from afar. Looking into the growth of China and her boom from the 1990’s spurred by foreign investments, technology and capital, came the over arching western regulations to industrial production.

    Chinese factories which initially ran robust on low wages suddenly had to deal with the western concept of a minimal wage scheme. Office goers got insurance and social security benefits and companies had to own up to stricter environmental laws. Papers were written on the appalling state of sanitation in China’s rural areas and education was kick started by making English learning enigmatic.

    When the West invested in China, they didn’t just do so with their money, but they also poured time and energy in making her more like them. Fashion and diets changed. Holiday destinations and aspirations altered and consumer demands and family structures changed. Bringing in foreign capital meant sweeping changes for the Middle Kingdom. The resident soothsayer at Inchin Closer predicts the same. With India on the rise again, western media eyeing her for potential investments, collaborations and growth, the country will need to simultaneously pull her socks up in other aspects too. For investors don’t come in with a blind eye. They will want better security for their women, better infrastructure and cleaner air.

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  • herbal-formula-2 ~ By Charmaine Mirza

    Indian pharmaceuticals have been trying to enter the Chinese market for a while. Priced cheaper than drugs available on the Mainland, Indian pharma companies have always been kept at bay for fear that they may disrupt the industry. However, there might be light at the end of this tunnel.

    Shanghai based Fosun Pharmaceuticals has recently emerged as the billion-dollar bidder for India’s KKR backed Gland Pharma, outstripping US-based Baxter and Advent, as it aims to increase its research and manufacturing prowess. As China gets old before she gets rich, the pharmaceutical industry is now waking up to partnering with Indian drug companies to benefit their billion plus populations and avoid a healthcare meltdown. Both ancient nations have their medical advantages – – China and India supply much of the world (and the same pharma multi-nationals) with their APIs (Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients) and generics. – The roots of modern medicine lie in two ancient systems – Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda. So who really wields the whip in this pharmaceutical circus? Inchin Closer pauses to examine the larger picture.

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  • ~ By Charmaine Mirza

    Where are the Chinese headed in India? A question worth asking even as Wang Jainlin, Wanda’s big boss, committed 60,000 crores towards infrastructure in Haryana at the beginning of 2016. A massive industrial park in Kharkoda, near Sonipat, in Haryana is Wanda’s latest drop (more like a downpour, we feel!) in the Indian Ocean. Is this a trailblazing move by China’s cowboy investor, or is he riding a silent wave of Chinese investment? Inchin Closer dives beneath the surface of the matter to take a closer look.

    • What makes India an attractive prospect for our Chinese neighbours?
    • Who exactly are these new arrivals off the Chinese junks?

    Haryana is leading the Indian pack to lure the Chinese into the Indian playground. So what’s Haryana doing to get the Chinese in? Chief Minister Khattar has made a terrific pitch highlighting:

    • The ease of doing business and regulation reforms under his regime.
    • Low rent leases
    • Friendly tax breaks
    • Haryana’s enhanced infrastructure facilities.
    • It’s strategic location with close proximity to the National Capital Region.

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  • jaitley + guoliIndian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley is on a five day tour of China to pitch for Chinese investments from the slowing Chinese economy. India which is on a growth trajectory is aiming for 7.5 to 8 percent GDP growth at a time when China’s GDP has decelerated to 7 percent.

    While the Chinese are interested in investing in India – a neighbour and a large market most investors are yet skeptical on her policies. Mr. Jaitley’s aim is to convince Chinese bankers and wealth fund managers to invest in India. The finance minister is not alone. His visit was proceeded by the Chief Minister of several Indian states, the last being Mr. Shivraj Singh Chouhan, the CM of India’s central and second largest state Madhya Pradesh who was in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou last week with a 20+ member business delegation to pump investments into his state. Madhya Pradesh has already allotted land at Pithampur towards Chinese investments in automobiles, pharmaceuticals and technology and has promised massive discounts in land, taxes and electricity.

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