India: Smashing Myths And Stereotypes
Your article ("Investing in India," Cover Story, Aug. 11) is a compliment to Indian consumers. It belies the popular perception of India as a land of snake charmers and the presumption that anything foreign is acceptable to the Indian consumer. The key to the success of any business in any country is to identify and understand your consumer. One cannot expect Indians to start having corn flakes in cold milk in a flash if hot milk is what they have been using for decades. Strange country that India is, with all its history and cultural differences that the author brings out well, it is imperative that companies entering India keep their feet firmly on the ground. They would do better to globalize their reach but localize their operations, as Unilever has done remarkably well.
Yale School of Management
Why should fundamentals of long-term business success be any different in India? Instead of squandering money on sloppy market research and expensive expats, firms should hire brilliant Indian managers who are equally at home in India and in the West.
Chandru R. Chandrasekar
That India is one country is a myth that the world at large needs to explode and understand. The different states in India comprised individual kingdoms and principalities until British rule. They are as diverse in culture, ethnicity, and language as are the different countries in Europe. To be "Indian" is only the same as being "European." Businesses should do feasability studies state by state. Born in Kerala and a sojourner of Madras, this citizen of the U.S. is proud to be an Indian.
Molly Netto, M.D.