Reaching for Riches; GLOBAL VIEW: INDIA How Experts in the Midlands Are Preparing to Meet the Challenge Facing the UK and the Other Traditional Economic Super-Powers as India Rises Up the Rankings

Article excerpt

The sun may be rising on the growing Chinese economy, but many of the West Midlands' most astute business thinkers are viewing India as the real land of opportunity.

Projected to overtake Japan as the third major economic superpower within the next decade, and to boast an economy 60 per cent of the size of the US's by 2025, Birmingham's Aston Business School is preparing to meet the challenge.

By the middle of the 21st century many are predicting the traditional economic super-powers will be playing catch-up to the new world order.

While much of the focus remains on China's emergence and potential for growth, some analysts are predicting that India will mount an equally significant challenge to the old order.

For the past century, the United States has been the largest economy in the world but major developments have taken place in the world economy since then, leading to the shift of focus from the US and the rich countries of Europe to the two Asian giants.

According to some experts, the share of the US in world GDP is expected to fall from 21 per cent to 18 per cent and that of India to rise from six per cent to 11 per cent by 2025.

This growing global presence is reflected in the launch of a new India Foundation for Applied Business Research (the India Foundation) by the internationally-renowned Aston Business School in Birmingham.

The school, part of Aston University, has joined forces with the Birmingham-based Institute of Asian Business to create the India Foundation.

Birmingham will be the hub of the foundation and will coordinate research and studies in India, the UK and the US, which have become two of the most important trading partners with the sub-continent.

The facility, which has the backing of the Indian High Commission, is a result of the work of Aston University's Office of Advancement and its director Brian Porter.

Prof John Saunders, head of Aston Business School, believes the foundation is a significant development on numerous levels.

"This country has long shared its history with India, which is now becoming one of the largest and fastest-growing economies in the world," says Prof Saunders, one of the leading marketing experts in Europe.

"Birmingham is well situated to take advantage of that trend. For a long time, Aston Business School has had a number of people doing excellent work on Indian businesses and the centre provides a terrific opportunity to benefit all businesses and managers on both continents."

The foreign direct investment from India to the UK is on the increase and so are the numbers of Indian students coming to study in the UK. In such circumstances, the creation of the India Foundation appears timely.

The foundation will be led by senior Aston Business School academic, Prof Pawan Budhwar, assisted by a postgraduate research team. Research and consultancy services will focus on both business studies and business applications with specific application to India. …