MUMBAI – Every day, a small Japanese jet brings another 60 businessmen from Tokyo to sniff out new commercial opportunities in Mumbai and the heart of the Indian economy. Naturally, there may be a touch of geopolitical calculation about this. As Japan grows increasingly nervous about China’s rise, the case for increasing investment in the other Asian giant strengthens.
But there is more about this than politics. Japanese businessmen may be a little puzzled by the creative chaos of India; the argumentative culture can seem alien to them. They know, however, a chance for making good profits in a rapidly expanding market when they see one.
And they see one in India’s glorious Technicolor – the Bollywood version of Adam Smith. When the Japanese company Daiichi Sankyo paid $4.6 billion for majority control of the Ranbury pharmaceutical group in 2008, they were placing a bet on continuing corporate success. Given India’s growth rates, who would seriously question their decision?
So the lobby of Mumbai’s Taj hotel, just across the road from the gateway built to welcome Britain’s King George V and Queen Mary on their visit to India in 1911, is once again thronged with visitors, many of whom have arrived to see if India is living up to its image as the next great power. The grand old Taj deserves all the business it is getting, after being the target of a terrorist attack in 2008. The bravery of the staff in trying to protect the hotel’s clients deserves the applause of every world traveler.