The latest luminary to visit the XLRI campus, as part of the CEO Forum lecture series was Dr Ravin Jhunjhunwala, Chairman, Orind Industries and Shashwat Group of Companies which is one of the largest refractory manufacturers in the world. Mr. Lakshmi Mittal has a 25% stake in Orind industries as part of a strategic alliance.
Orind industries was one of the first Indian companies to set up operations in China in 1995 and Dr. Jhunjunwala is credited with creating the first Indian MNC. Today, Orind industries also has a manufacturing facility in Pittsburgh USA.
The focus of the lecture was on Dr.Jhunjunwala’s experience in China, right from the difficulties in setting up base there to dealing with the cultural difficulties to his personal experience as a vegetarian.
He spoke of the reasons to enter China as early as 1995. China taxes raw materials more than finished goods and that was one of the fundamental reasons, in addition to being more cost effective. Also the vagaries of setting up a joint venture made him set up an independent unit rather than having a joint venture with a Chinese partner.
Dr. Jhunjunwala made some very interesting observations about Chinese culture, the different ways they have of handling business and he also dispelled myths regarding their narrow mindedness. He was full of praise for their ethics, organizational structure, work efficiency, and labor policy.
He also spoke about his experience as an Indian and how Indians are perceived by the Chinese. He concluded his talk by giving some very insightful advice to the managerial aspirants about managing the Chinese way of handling things and that one of the main attributes required for a successful operation in China is having patience.