INSEAD Affiliate Professor Patrick Turner surmises that the speed of entrepreneurship development in China is likely to erase the lead that India currently enjoys in entrepreneurship over its northern neighbour. In his view, the entrepreneurship bandwagon in both the countries has been fueled by a combination of a number of overseas residents returning to the homeland and local residents eager for opportunity based ventures. However, he puts forth two major reasons for India’s current edge over China in entrepreneurship development.
- A legacy of entrepreneurship and availability of enough role model entrepreneurs in family, society and country to emulate and follow – unlike China, where the communist government did their best to kill the entrepreneurial spirit in the 50s, 60s and the 70s.
- Presence of entrepreneurship-oriented bodies such as the TiE network (The Indus Entrepreneurs) or Wadhwani Foundation – unlike China, where nothing even remotely like this exists.
Turner forecasts the rapid rise of entrepreneurship in China by citing the success of entrepreneur Jack Ma, which portends
…that China is already starting to produce its own iconic role models. It will then be just a short step to creating entrepreneurship support organisations, possibly financed by successful entrepreneurs of the new generation.
It seems a tad too simplistic to arrive at the conclusion. Turner’s own observation about parental and social role models in India betrays his fallacious reasoning.
It’s a matter of entrepreneurship appearing to you in those you see around you as a perfectly normal and widely practiced way of pursuing a career.
The prevalent social structure underpins the incubation and growth of entrepreneurship in a country. It is possible and eminently laudable to generate a large number of regular jobs in manufacturing or service sector by providing specific skills and training to a vast multitude, by creating world class infrastructure and by attracting big ticket investment. Deng Xiaoping and his successors might have undone Mao’s myriad economic misadventures in one generation but the entrepreneurship bug will take a few more generations to spread in China, that too only if a fertile breeding ground is available – of a freer, democratic, vibrant and even somewhat chaotic society.