At an elite tech school near Calcutta, someone is trying to invent the next BlackBerry, but one that will sell at a fraction of the U.S. price. Outside Bombay, they're putting the finishing touches on a $2,200 people's car. In a world-class Shanghai lab, a Chinese team is mapping breakthrough cancer research. Now go to the infamous Dharavi slum in Bombay, and see teachers combating a staggering national illiteracy rate of 37%. At a workers' rights center in Guangzhou, hear the strident voices of an embryonic union movement that alarms Beijing's authoritarian leaders.
The next superpowers? Societies on the brink of chaos? The countries that will take all of our jobs? Since India and China have one-third of the world's people, almost anything you say about them will be partly right. With this special double issue, we've reached beyond the fray to envision China, India, and the U.S. evolving into a global triumvirate that will dominate the century. China and India will be both allies and counterweights to America -- at the expense of Japan and Europe.
China's competitive edge is shifting from low-cost workers to state-of-the-art manufacturing. India is creating world-class innovation hubs, and its companies are far better performers than China's. And a market-driven "Chindia" is fast emerging.
Led by Senior Writers Pete Engardio and Rose Brady and Asian Regional Editor Brian Bremner, our team of Dexter Roberts, Bruce Einhorn, Frederik Balfour, Manjeet Kripalani, Josey Puliyenthuruthel, Steve Hamm, Michael Arndt, Peter Coy, James Mehring, and John Carey spent five months on the special. Chris Power led editors David Rocks, Michael Serrill, Elizabeth Weiner, and Peter Elstrom in New York. The striking photos were assembled by Mindy Katzman and her colleagues. Art directors Chris Silver and Steve Taylor designed the issue. And researcher Susan Zegel mined the data for everyone.
We hope these stories, and many other special features on businessweek.com, will surprise and provoke you, and help you plan for the future.
By Bob Dowling
Managing Editor, International