President’s Desk

China & India: Strengthening Partnership in Science & Technology, Innovation, Financial & IT Services Conference


Your Excellencies, ladies and gentleman. Let me first thank the CII and the Shanghai Municipal Government for this invitation. I am privileged to be here and look forward to this address.

It is common perception that China is the factory of the world and the manufacturing sector in China, the driving force behind China’s growth. While this is true, there is a rapid transition in place.
The services sector now contributes more than 46% of the GDP, followed by Industry (44%) and Agriculture (10%). In fact, the services sector is the biggest employer in the country providing employment to more than 300 million out of China’s total work force of 765 million. As the country transits to a consumption driven model,
the services sector will drive the next leg of China’s growth and will contribute more than 60% of GDP – as witnessed with other developed nations.

Indian knowledge services firms including the IT sector have a massive growth opportunity in China as it transforms its economy. A successful ecosystem between Indian knowledge services companies and the Chinese industry is a win-win opportunity. For Indian companies this will provide access to the vast Chinese market and thereafter to leverage global opportunities out of China. For China an opportunity to showcase its own enormous soft skills and tap into a new growth lode. For this reason, today’s agreement is an important step as reflected by the presence of their excellencies. This agreement will not only boost knowledge flows between the two cities but also create a future platform for commercial linkages. I compliment and congratulate this initiative.

I want to use this occasion to share my experiences of living in Shanghai and areas of learning and cooperation. I first came to Shanghai in 1988. The city was yet to start the transformation process. I was told that a new township was planned across the river in Pudong. On my next visit after three years – I saw the first signs of change. Thereafter, I could see construction of a few high rises and a tower – the Pearl TV tower – underway. On every visit thereafter, I saw further change. Amazing change. I felt spellbound and could not believe the speed of change. Today the whole of Shanghai and the Pudong and Lujiazui areas in particular boast of world-class amenities and this superior growth has caught the attention of the whole world.

His Excellency Mr. Han Zheng has been the chief architect of this change. First as the deputy mayor and then as Mayor and thereafter as the Party secretary of Shanghai. It is under his leadership that Shanghai has transformed itself into a world-class city. He has led by example and his team has meticulously executed plans. Shanghai with high rises, elevated roads, a river front of tens of kilometres, bridges, tunnels, world class mass transit, the maglev train, open garden spaces, with several gardens such as Century Park which run into tens of square kilometres, has set the standard for a 21st century modern smart city. Every time I have met the city leadership and his Excellency, I mention about ‘magical Shanghai’ a city, which transforms every three years for the better. I came to Shanghai in July last year and am proud to call it home. And so has every colleague, several from Mumbai and from around the world. We have been received with great warmth and received enormous support from the Shanghai Government at each step, who in a way have made the NDB one of their own. I understand it has been no different for other Indian companies.

I want to share a few examples of what I have seen which could be very relevant for Mumbai. My team and I visited the Shanghai Electric Power Plant last year. A 5000 MW – ultra critical thermal power plant- located right in the middle of a residential complex in Shanghai. I was surprised to see hardly any trace of dust in the plant and very low emissions. I was told that In fact the emissions were below that emitted by a gas-based power plant. My team also visited a 3000 tpd waste to energy power plant on the outskirts of Shanghai city. On their return, I enquired about the plant. My team spoke about landscaped hills and a plant as a clean as a hospital without any odor or smell. The compressed city waste travels by containers in ships down the river, indistinguishable from other cargo in the busy river.

There are numerous other examples where any developing city could learn from the Shanghai model and adopt it to resolve urban development challenges. The transformation of Shanghai provides important lessons. For Mumbai in particular, Shanghai has ready examples of how to effect change: from cleaning rivers and building riversides to handling city waste, from building elevated roads to tunnels under water, from reducing emissions and cleaning the air to building vast green spaces with wonderful gardens. And as Mumbai invests in these, the investment itself adds a growth momentum.

Finally, there is a famous Chinese proverb: ‘Consider the past, and you shall know the future’. Surely, the lessons from Shanghai and the experiences of his Excellency Mr. Han Zheng and his team can be enormously useful to the policy makers in Mumbai and indeed across India. For us at the NDB transformations will be an important part of our infrastructure initiatives.

Once again thank you so much for inviting me.