….was the relative competition between China and India for their future piece of the global TMT (Technology, Media, Telecom) landscape.
The verdict: At CES, no question this round goes to China — a virtual shutout of India, which was almost invisible in contrast to the enormous and growing presence of Chinese technology manufacturers, telecom hardware and software providers and infrastructure players in glitzy splendor among the 153,000 attendees of this year’s CES in Las Vegas.
Such Chinese leaders as telecom giant Huawei (with its sub-$100 Android smartphone) had significant floorspace. And this very large presence was more than exceeded if you total the dozens of smaller companies more modestly showing one or another interesting new take on an existing business (e.g. super-powerful, super-inexpensive tablet computers) or on a new business (cleverly designed bluetooth-enabled holders to attach your iPad to the back of the front seat of your car to create a cheap backseat entertainment center).
But the ‘missing force’ at CES was India, whose large and growing technology and telecom industry was more or less AWOL from the show. Not that India’s tech executives were absent: I had several great meetings with leaders from several Indian players in the telecom and IT outsourcing industries.
But given the pace of growth of India’s telecom and technology industries and the increasing global role they are playing, it was intriguing India’s technology leaders were most notable in their absence. I know from the very strong growth app-store marketplace leader Appia is seeing in India through its relationship providing mobile applications for Vodafone India, for instance, that the Indian market is surging.
Yet Indian manufacturers and technology companies seemed almost invisible at this year’s preeminent consumer technology showcase.
Why? There are those who say CES is past its prime, and perhaps that explains the absence of some of these players. But at an event where China played such a visible and growing role, the contrast with India provides an interesting anecdote.
The only conclusion on the ground was: China is ‘leaning in’ on a global export opportunity, and India — by appearances anyway — seems to lean in the opposite direction.