3rd March 2011
The rapidly increasing pace of innovation by Indian businesses
Indian has the third largest number of billionaires in the world today. See the list below (this list, taken from Forbes was prepared about a year ago when stock valuations in India had not recovered, and many Indians earlier in the top 10 had fallen out).
This list raises a fundamental question. Why are Indians becoming so rich despite the average Indian still being 15 times poorer than the average American?
Is this something to do with corruption? (Russia's case definitely involves government-political linkages; what about India?)
I'd say – partially yes. Corruption and bribery have given many Indian billionaires a head-start. But is that their fault, really? It is the politicians who create systems for such bribery, not businesses. I know that it takes two to tango, but in my view the primary fault lies with the government functionaries who demand bribes.
Regardless, corruption can only take one so far. India's business success story is primarily based on innovation. That becomes clearer as one reads about the success stories of these billionaires (e.g. in Think India by Vinay Rai or The Entrepreneurial Connection by Gurmeet Naroola, or in tens of other books that are pouring out on India every year).
If India can do SO WELL just on a very tiny opening into freedom, and despite bad governance, then imagine what it will do with much greater freedom and good governance?
That's what is FTI's job – to create an enabling government.
I invite Indian businesses to support FTI to support their rapid world-wide growth. FTI understands HOW wealth is created, and how to make India at least 10 times richer.
My guess is that the pace of innovation in Indian is going to rapidly increase in the coming years, even without the outstanding governance that India needs.
Thus, ten years from now, I expect to see as many as 25 to 30 billionaires in the top 100 from India, with most of the top 10 from India.
And here's another forecast: I expect the distance in wealth of Indian billionaires from other billionaires, to increase dramatically. Thus the richest man (definitely an Indian!) will set a lead of over $100 billion over non-Indians. That much is certain. And as India recovers its position at the top of the world, and Indians become the world's richest people (on a per-capita basis), this lead will just keep increasing.
THE FORBES LIST OF THE COUNTRIES OF THE TOP 100 BILLIONNAIRES
United States 33
Hong Kong 3
Saudi Arabia 3
United Kingdom 2
South Korea 1
Czech Republic 1