Gartner Blog Network

India AND China, not India OR China in IT

by Partha Iyengar  |  August 3, 2010  |  8 Comments


The debate over the competitive battle between India and China continues unabated in IT circles. The grounds for the debate though, are increasingly weakening.

The original premise (as also discussed in our book  IT and the East) was that China was hardware/manufacturing centric and India was software / services centric. However, the upcoming evolution around cloud computing and cloud services, that is increasingly crunching these two paradigms together may make this ‘old’  debate a moot point. India needs China’s capabilities and vice-versa. An either / or approach means that both countries (and their clients) lose.

Cloud computing will increasingly drive an infrastructure / hardware centric view of the world, especially as the evolving paradigm of ‘Elastic Infrastructure – EI’ (a topic of upcoming research) takes hold. However, for enterprises to actually derive differentiated business value in this new world, a strong services play is essential. This is where the ‘AND’ between India and China comes into play. It is no use holding ones breath waiting for India’s infrastructure quality to improve in the near to medium term, and by the same token for China to address the significant ‘soft’ challenges of language, process, quality, resource quality etc. The energies of the IT industry in both countries is better spent in figuring out how to leverage the complimentary capabilities that they possess and figuring out to pool those capabilities together for the benefit of their global client base.

For example, an increasing value proposition for Indian service providers will be a new role as cloud brokers, which may (will) also require a stronger infrastructure play. Why don’t the Indian companies focus their energies on creating this cloud based infrastructure in China while the services component remains in India, rather than try to reproduce the services delivery capability in China? Similarly, China should leverage its infrastructure and its ISV / technology centric resource mindset to groom and develop those skills further (which actually reduces the language / process / quality burden to some extent) rather than try and beat India at its own game.

If this were to happen, maybe we would have to amend our recent Strategic Planning Assumption (SPA) which stated that 20-25% of the future cloud brokerage vendors will come from amongst the Indian service providers to stating that it would come from amongst successful (a loaded word) alliances between Indian and Chinese service providers!

Worth a thought?


Partha Iyengar
VP Distinguished Analyst
15 years at Gartner
25 years IT industry

Partha Iyengar is VP distinguished analyst and regional research director, India, at Gartner. In this role, he leads the India research team and is responsible for coordinating the local research agenda. Read Full Bio

Thoughts on India AND China, not India OR China in IT

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Gartner, Andrew Spender, Jennifer, HCL Technologies, Karel Holub and others. Karel Holub said: RT @Gartner_inc: India AND China, not India OR China in IT: Partha Iyengar, #Gartner, on his blog […]

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Gary Meadows, researchnetwork. researchnetwork said: India AND China, not India OR China in IT (Gartner) – […]

  3. Hi Partha,
    Good thoughts. However, I am not sure if you have considered two points. Firstly, though cloud offerings are getting popular, the concept still suffers from the inherent issue of security, except private clouds. Secondly, China or chinese companies are not very much known to appreciate security. We still hear reverse engineering and IP breaches, don’t we?

    My two paisa (and not cents). I deal with INR you see. :-)

  4. Partha says:

    True Prijit – a lot of realistic issues to address around not just ‘cloud computing in China’, but ‘cloud computing’ overall, so your points well taken.

  5. […] research director at Gartner, said the two economic giants are missing the forest for the trees. He blogged last month that as both countries move past their traditional strengths in tech, joining forces is the smarter […]

  6. Ashok Kadambi says:

    Hey Pachu:
    Nice analysis on the “Chindia” issue!!
    Indians have an edge on the software side as well as services.
    How often do we hear from clients: “That was not what I meant when I said…..”
    The gap between what the customer wants and what is delivered is I suspect much wider when dealing with the Chinese developers. I suspect this is largely cultural. However the Chinese are now rapidly learning english in their schools and India I fear will be left far behind as English is taught only in “convent” and central schools. The vast majority still speak little or no English


    Your ELAN friend: Ashok

  7. Rohan Thomas says:

    Interesting how India compromises. Woe is he to the improvements to Indian infrastructure and so looks to China to obtain what he’s come to terms with as futile. China on the other hand is not so dejected. Just like the government and people put in the resources and efforts to overcome infrastructural challenges (building of the 3 gorges damn and the likes) they have the confidence that they’ll overcome the ‘soft’ challenges as well. They’ll laugh at our ‘compromise’. Not only does China want to be self-sufficient, they want the rest of us to be globally dependent on them. When will we stop with the complacency of our soft skills and start bolstering up our infrastructure for foreign investment (i.e.,: Bye bye Intel and BMW)

  8. For John and ‘Anon’, I have recopied Carsten’s blog and keeping the references– accept my apology for missing that. Thank you for pointing it out.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Comments or opinions expressed on this blog are those of the individual contributors only, and do not necessarily represent the views of Gartner, Inc. or its management. Readers may copy and redistribute blog postings on other blogs, or otherwise for private, non-commercial or journalistic purposes, with attribution to Gartner. This content may not be used for any other purposes in any other formats or media. The content on this blog is provided on an "as-is" basis. Gartner shall not be liable for any damages whatsoever arising out of the content or use of this blog.