China & India Fuel Growth With Infrastructure Projects

While the U.S. is still trying to stimulate spending of U.S. consumers with its economic stimulus programs, countries such as India and China appear to be making much better progress.  On a recent trip in September to China and India via Singapore one can visibly see that Asia Pacific is not standing still and putting idled factory workers toward new infrastructure projects.  Talking with customers and partners in China and India only confirms what could be described as a best practice for any nation looking for economic recovery.

Earlier this year Beijing announced a $585 billion (U.S. dollars) stimulus package (~13% of China's 2008 GDP). As part of this stimulus package China will spend this year $50 billion (U.S. dollars) alone on the ambitious worlds biggest high-speed (started in 2005 and expected to finish in 2020) railway which will connect Beijing, Dalian, Xuzhou, Lanzhou, Shanghai, Kunming and Guangzhou. Beijing's economic stimulus is directly targeted at the ~20 million idled workers in China due mostly to the 20% decline in foreign sales.  Notable statistics of the new high-speed railway include:

  • The buttresses which carry the tracks will consume 117 million tons of concrete

  • 16,000 miles (25,749 km) of new track will be built
  • The Beijing to Shanghai line will consume enough steel to build 120 "Birds Nest" Olympic Stadiums
  • In addition to construction labor the railway will create jobs for engineers and lot's of them.  The railway will be computerized and require a lot of IT spending and resources.  You can be certain the large IT companies are looking to win this business and provide hardware, software, services and support.  A great opportunity.  Bill Powell wrote a great article in FORTUNE magazine with many more exciting facts which you can read here.

    India's growth is equally impressive despite the global recession.  India still needs to build massive amounts of infrastructure while China is already upgrading infrastructure previous built.  I like to describe China as organized chaos while India is still dealing with unorganized chaos.  In Beijing you see cars, buses, trains, people, bikes, motorcycles all in congested traffic in harmony with the traffic signals.  In Bangalore you have the same as Beijing but with everyone only in harmony with themselves.  Traffic signals get ignored, motorcycles are riding on the sidewalk and intersections, at rush hour, give no clear indication as to who has the right of way.  It's simply something that every business professional should experience because you need to know the customer you are selling.  Both are beautiful cultures and part of the solution of economic recovery in the world.  India too will consume massive amount of engineers, software, hardware and services not only to fuel their IT outsourcing industry but to rapidly build their own nation, infrastructure and ultimately their own economy as a world leader.

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