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Bajaj-TVS

In the wake of the Chinese incursions at Galwan Valley and other places along the Line of Actual Control, leaders of all political hues from across the country have been repeatedly calling for the boycott of Chinese products. Such exhortations would become effective only when cheap local products that can replace Chinese ones are available.
Many people who are wonder-struck at the iron grip that Chinese industries have on the global markets have questioned the effectiveness of such fervent calls. The development that India has made in some areas of manufacturing and service give an indication that this is not a misplaced appeal.
Indians always saw China’s domination in the manufacturing sector with a sense of jealousy and loss. They harboured a feeling that India could have achieved what China accomplished had it acted on time. Now, when the spread of COVID-19 has given rise to hostilities towards China, most Indians see a new window opening up during a time of adversity. But even much earlier, before such opportunities were thrown up, the two-wheeler industry in the country had beaten China across the world and came up a winner.
The success of Indian two-wheeler manufactures in capturing global market is seldom tom-tomed about by economists as they do about the Asian dragon. Even as they speak about the sleeping India tiger, the success of a Bajaj Auto, TVS and Hero Motors is not even whispered. The success of these companies bring to us the truth that there were opportunities in the past too and had it been utlitised as and when they came up, India could have achieved much more in other manufacturing sectors as well.
A case in point in the popularity of Chinese mobile phones that have asserted their dominance on the Indian market in the past few years. It is the fact that they are cheap and affordable that led to the success of these mobile phones in the country. The Chinese motorcycle companies had made an attempt to seize the Indian two-wheeler market in 2005. The prices of these motorcycles were at least 30 per cent cheaper than those manufactured in India. The low quality of their products did not go down well with Indian consumers and Chinese companies were forced to down shutters and beat a hasty retreat.
Bajaj Auto, TVS and Hero Motors were able to replicate the success that the achieved in the Indian market over Chinese products in other countries as well. They captured the market in Africa where the poor quality Chinese motorcycles were ruling the roost until then. Today, Bajaj is the market leader in the African continent.
Later, these companies conquered the two-wheeler markets in many countries in African and South American continents. By 2018, India became the largest manufacturer of two-wheelers in the world. India manufactures double the number of motorcycles that China does. Even in the manufacturing of two-wheeler spare parts, India has surpassed China.
It is this success that the two-wheeler manufacturing companies achieved that should inspire manufacturers in other sectors as well. They should take the cue from the planning that these companies adopted to become market leaders.
In an interview with Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, Bajaj Auto Managing Director Rajiv Bajaj lashed out that the government’s lockdown had completely destroyed the country’s economy, that he had not heard of such a brutish lockdown anywhere else in the world, and that the lockdown had been implemented much more humanely in other countries across the world.
Those industrialists who wish to have a cordial relationship with the Modi government would seldom speak out. Even earlier, Rajiv Bajaj and his father Rahul Bajaj never hesitated to speak out against the misguided policies of the government. The bold duo had not hoped for any favouritism from the government to expand their industries and abhorred walking down the path of crony capitalism that many have taken to tread without much shame. That’s the reason why they don’t fear criticising the government openly.
If India has to realise the dream of ‘Atmanirbhar’, Modi should be willing to give a patient hearing to such visionaries who criticise the government. He should unhesitatingly imbibe the lessons that they learnt to dominate over China in global markets. Only then, will India be able to win the war that has spread from the frontiers to the markets.


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