Bay Area ties to India a strategic asset
This is a great article on the global interdependency that the U.S. economy has with it’s major trading partners, especially in the growing emerging markets of India and China. While not specifically related to the EB5 visa immigrant investor program, it does show how interconnected our economies are and how cooperation can lead to a better future for both countries.
India has become a top-tier player in the world economy, and like China, its economic trajectory will influence global markets for the rest of this century. The good news for the Bay Area is that our ties to India are uniquely strong and deep. Indian immigrants have founded many of Silicon Valley’s iconic firms; many are serial entrepreneurs and venture capitalists. The Bay Area’s Indian community broadly mirrors their success: Median income is more than $107,000, 75 percent of adults have at least a bachelor’s degree, and 70 percent are in management or professional positions. Roughly half are homeowners.
The Bay Area’s influence in India also runs deep. Most of the region’s top technology companies have R&D centers there, and Bay Area venture firms are on the ground in strength. Just a few examples:
– India is Oracle’s fourth-largest worldwide market;
– More than half of India’s developer community works on Sun platforms;
– Hewlett-Packard is the largest player in India’s information technology market;
– Cisco’s second global headquarters is in Bangalore;
– India hosts Symantec’s largest engineering site outside the United States, and accounts for one-third of Adobe’s global engineering workforce;
– Levi Strauss has 450 exclusive outlets in 80 Indian cities;
– EBay counts 2 million regular users in 670 cities and 10,000 dealers across India;
– More than 40 Bay Area venture firms have Indian leaders or investment activity in India.
Most Americans still think of India in terms of call centers, or offshored, back-office jobs. But the reality is more complex.
Lower wages are becoming less important, taking a backseat to more specialized or advanced technology work. As a result, Indian companies and engineers are playing an increasingly important role in our companies’ global strategies. Bay Area companies are also focusing on India’s 200 million to 300 million middle-class consumers, targeting a growing market for products such as designer clothing, software and computers, and its growing need for energy and other infrastructure. Bay Area venture capitalists have sensed the trend, with funding going into everything from Indian online gaming to fast-food franchises.
The region’s unique two-way pipeline with India, based on people and technology, suggests that the two economies can grow together. For this to happen, however, some serious issues need to be addressed here at home.
Educated Indians who in the past would have stayed to contribute to our economy are starting to return home, drawn by growing entrepreneurial opportunity and an outdated U.S. immigration policy that drives away talented professionals.
California urgently needs to focus on the quality of math and science education in its public schools to ensure that Americans are prepared to cooperate and compete with their Chinese and Indian counterparts. And continued investment in our centers of higher education, particularly the University of California, is critical to ensure that California remains the global center of game-changing technology and innovation-led growth.
The economic relationship between the Bay Area and India is unique in the United States and in the world. India is a huge and fast-growing market. The Bay Area’s cultural and business ties with India are extraordinarily deep, and provide a critical bridge to an economy that most agree will be a major player in the world economy. If we play our cards right, it can be a powerful strategic asset from which both sides will benefit.
R. Sean Randolph is president and CEO of the Bay Area Council Economic Institute. To read the institute’s study, “Global Reach,” go to www.bayareaeconomy.org.