Exclusive outtakes from industry leaders
Hollywood and Bollywood screenwriters must beware. Their creativity stands no chance against the “cataclysmic” global financial crisis’ talent for script writing if Infosys BPO’s Anantha Radhakrishnan is to be believed.
In these “turbulent and tumultuous” times, the script being crafted by the crisis promises to “differentiate the men from the boys” in the business process outsourcing industry, with deep-pocketed firms expected to brace their way through the storm, according to Radhakrishnan, a vice president at the outsourcing firm.
But not before electric fluctuations in the currency market play their course, and bitter and desperate price battles are fought and won. Multi-stranded epics starring Amitabh Bachchan have to hang their heads in shame.
And all this amid heart-stopping uncertainty of the Hitchcockian variety.
“When you go to bed, you don’t know which is the next big guy on the block which is being taken into ICU or being salvaged or bailed out by the government,” Radhakrishnan said at the Reuters India Investment Summit. To hear his comment click here.
One would expect a top executive of the world’s largest software services provider to hang out with the latest gadgets. Sandip Patel, Managing Partner for IBM Global Business Services in South Asia, seems to be quite the contrarian.
He is antagonized by even the most common gadget to adorn executive pockets in these times.
As the global economic turmoil rages on and shows no sign of abating, Genpact Chief Executive Pramod Bhasin believes “wait and watch” is the flavour of the season for business process outsourcing firms.
The flavour seems bitter for now.
Over the past few years, BPO services firms armed with competitive, English-speaking professionals working for relatively cheap wages have cashed in on an outsourcing boom. But they are now experiencing a lull in growth as the U.S. economy faces one of the worst crises in history.
Nothing works in India, Bhasin said, and rattled off a list of public utilities from water and power to security and transportation.
India has seen 9 percent-plus economic growth for the past three years and many thought it would remain relatively immune to the global financial crisis and the subsequent slowdown. But its stock market has tumbled 50 percent this year and all the signs point to a sharper slowdown than most were anticipating.
Corporate expansion plans, capital raising and partial privatisations by the government have all had to go on hold as investors, foreign and domestic, have run scared before the storm which has ripped through financial markets worldwide. Politicians too face a tough year, with national elections due in early 2009 and millions of voters for whom a first car, apartment or refrigerator is once again moving out of reach.
What does all this mean for India’s transformation into an Asian powerhouse? Will it set the country’s infrastructure and commercial development back several years or is it just a blip?
Some of the country’s most influential figures will discuss these topics and their own firms’ plans to ride out the slowdown at the Reuters India Investment Summit, which will generate a package of exclusive stories, online videos, blogs and analysis.
By Tony Munroe
When markets boomed, India’s star was shining bright and deals were plentiful, but the hard landing means any recovery will be painfully slow.
Indian stock markets are still down more than 50 percent so far this year, making them the third worst Asian performer after China and Vietnam.
By Jeffrey Hodgson
Increasingly risk-averse hedge fund managers are in no mood to chase exotic trades as they scramble to boost returns.
Given the current environment, Robert Appleby, chief investment officer at ADM Capital, told the Reuters Global Finance Summit there was no need to seek out exotic trades or markets for healthy returns.