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12 Indian companies are Asian giants

September 8, 2007
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A dozen Indian companies have made it to the Asia Fabulous list. There are only 7 from China and 10 from Taiwan. To compile this list, “Forbes looked at long-term profitability, sales and earnings growth, stock price appreciation and projected earnings for every company in the region with revenues or market capitalization of at least $5 billion.”

Just off the cuff, these are some of my observations:

1) For India, the number 12 position is not anything new. It is same number as last year. But for China and Taiwan, it’s a leap forward. China had only only 5 companies on the list then and Taiwan had 6, but this year they have more companies rubbing shoulders with the Asian competition. And considering that Taiwan is such a tiny country, I think it’s admirable that they have so many thriving companies, and that these are doing well in global terms. Ofcourse, their economy has been more or less open for a long time now…

2) I still think it’s great that a dozen or so companies from India have made it…more so because for so many years we had bureaucratic rules strangling our industry and still do have plenty of them! I believe that this is due to the fact that India has very talented managers who can produce results even in the toughest of conditions. Indian companies have come up without any government support, specially the ones in the technology sector. Ofcourse they did so well so quickly because the govt did not try to stall their progress…! There is certainly a lot of business and entrepreneurial talent in India. Whether these abilities are inherent or somehow developed, I cannot say.

3) In China, the industries get an awesome lot of support from the government…in fact they are more or less pushed by the government. Now that China had made up it’s mind to encourage industry, it’s going full throttle! They have been welcoming foreign investors with open arms for years! But guess what…now they seem to feel that they have been going overboard! Now that their economy is surging ahead, and managerial talent has been developed, the latest news is that government controls on foreign investment are in the offing!

After a quarter-century of welcoming and even courting foreign investors, Chinese officials are starting to show considerably more caution. Lawmakers in Beijing are set to pass legislation thisweek that would limit foreign acquisitions in China on national security grounds…there is greater Chinese skepticism toward foreign investment, even as the Chinese government establishes a $200 billion overseas investment fund and encourages Chinese companies to buy foreign businesses with valuable technology or brands.

3) Another interesting trend is that in India, four companies in the 2006 list are absent in the 2007 list, namely Bajaj Auto, ITC, Sterlite Industries and Tata Motors. Most of these companies are thriving, so that is not the issue. It’s just that I find it interesting that they have fallen behind in the Asian rat race, probably beaten by some Taiwanese companies and some of their own compatriots!

But four other Indian companies have made it to the list this year, companies which were absent last year, and these are Bharti Airtel, Grasim, Tata Steel and TCS.

This is the 2007 list:

Bharat Heavy Electricals
Bharti Airtel
Infosys Technologies
Larsen &Toubro
Tata Steel
Satyam Computer Services
Tata Consultancy Services
Reliance Industries

It will be out in the September 15th issue of Forbes.

Related Reading: The gap between rich and poor Indians.

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. September 8, 2007 12:23 pm

    oil major ongc out of forbes list??

  2. September 8, 2007 12:48 pm

    Prax, it wasn’t there last year either. Perhaps their growth figures are not that impressive.

  3. September 9, 2007 1:47 am

    oops sorry didnt read fabulous as the criterion for choice

    nyways it is a big success for the upa that at least 1 psu is in the list
    shows how well govt runs firms …

  4. September 9, 2007 8:57 pm

    1) and 2) While I am glad that we have 12, I am a bit disappointed as well. We should have had more! 🙂

    Grasim is an interesting one out here. Also admirable is how, despite lack of banking reforms, HDFC and ICICI still made the list!

  5. September 9, 2007 10:05 pm

    Yes amazing isn’t it, how these banks are doing so well with all the various restrictions! Good management is surely one of them! I interacted with the top management at ICICI when I was working for Business Today and was totally floored! Brilliant people.

  6. Vivek Khadpekar permalink
    September 11, 2007 6:30 am


    You wrote: “… four companies in the 2006 list are absent in the 2007 list … I find it interesting that they have fallen behind in the … rat race.”

    Could this be because they are not rats, or are relatively lowly rats?


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