For the last decade, China and India have grown at an amazing rate - particularly considering the greatest downturn in the U.S. and Europe since the Great Depression. As a result, both countries are forecast to have larger economies than the U.S. or EU in the years ahead. Still, in the last year, signs of a slowdown have hit these two giants. Which way will these giants go? And how will that affect the global economy? Any Western corporation, investor, or entrepreneur serious about competing internationally must understand what makes them tick. Unfortunately, many in the West still look at the two Asian giants as monoliths, closely controlled mainly by their national governments. Inside Out, India and China makes clear how and why this notion is outdated. William Antholis - a former White House and State Department official, and the managing director at Brookings - spent five months in India and China, travelling to over 20 states and provinces in both countries. He explored the enormously diversity in business, governance, and culture of these nations, temporarily relocating his entire family to Asia.
His travels, research, and interviews with key stakeholders make the unmistakable point that these nations are not the immobile, centrally directed economies and structures of the past. More and more, key policy decisions in India and China are formulated and implemented by local governments - states, provinces, and fast-growing cities. Both economies have promoted entrepreneurship, both by private sector and also local government officials. Some strategies work. Others are fatally flawed. Antholis's detailed narratives of local innovation in governance and business - as well as local failures - prove the point that simply maintaining a presence in Beijing and New Delhi - or even Shanghai and Mumbai - is not enough to ensure success in China or India, just as one cannot expect to succeed in America simply by setting up in Washington or New York. Each nation is as large, vibrant, innovative, diverse, and increasingly decentralized as are the United States, Europe and all of Latin America ...combined. China and India each have their own agricultural heartlands, high-tech corridors, resource-rich areas, and powerhouse manufacturing regions.
They also have major economic, social, environmental challenges facing them. But few people outside these countries can name those places, or have a mental map of how the local parts of these countries are shaping their global futures. Organizations, businesses, and other governments that do not recognize and plan for this evolution may miss that the most important changes in these emerging giants are coming from the inside out.