Economically, many people still associate China and India with factories and call centres respectively but things have moved on. In many ways, the so-called emerging markets have now emerged and are leaving those of us in Western Europe behind as their power shifts from being supply-based economies to consumer economies.
For example, while 28 per cent of the Europeans have a smartphone with internet or a data subscription, in India this percentage is 38 per cent and in China 41 per cent. And they’re using their devices more; 56 per cent of European internet users daily access the web via their smartphone, compared with 68 per cent in India and 77 per cent in China. And if you look at tablet adoption, then India has nearly three times the take-up of Europe and China has twice the take-up of India.
India and China are growing despite the global recession and that growth is set to increase; in a decade’s time there will be 550 million middle-class people in India and China will be the third largest consumer market in the world.
So what does this mean for organisations here in Europe?
Well BT are finding that 80 per cent of their core multinational customers are actively investing in China and India, and whereas in the past much of that investment has been in low-cost labour and manufacturing, it’s now in R&D, distribution and retail.
For the CIO there’s tremendous pressure to deliver an infrastructure that enables rapid growth while managing the underlying complexities and risks of operating across such a dynamic and diverse market, especially once you factor in other AsiaPac territories like Sydney, Singapore and Hong Kong.
The role of the CIO is therefore central to an organisation’s ability to thrive in this changing world, so it’s no surprise that they’re seeking ICT partners who can help them navigate the complexity of the region and provide a technology roadmap that fits their growth strategy.