Reliable communications critical to development of emerging markets: Tata Communications

Telecom Lead India: A recent research from Tata
Communications reveals that majority of companies (84 percent) in emerging
markets look to other emerging markets for growth lessons and best practice.
The study also highlights that global connectivity is key to the growth of
emerging markets.

Companies are moving to emerging markets as they have
realized the potential to capitalize on growth opportunities. In line with the
focus on growth, competitive activity is also a factor for moving into emerging
markets. Companies looking to or are already operating in emerging market are
expected to increase investment in emerging markets by 36 percent over the next

The study, conducted by independent research company
Vanson Bourne, surveyed 1,600 business leaders from ten global emerging and
developed markets, including China, India, South Africa, France, Germany, Hong
Kong, Singapore, the Middle East, the USA and the UK.

Respondents from emerging markets — China, India, South
Africa and the Middle East — were asked which markets they felt offers most
opportunity for rapid growth. China led the pack at 51 percent, followed by
India at 46 percent and Brazil at 26 percent. Though Russia is often associated
with these markets, was pushed to 8th place with just 11 percent of
emerging market business leaders feeling it offered rapid business growth.

Fifty one percent of all respondents stated that their
organization is looking at expanding into China, with 39 percent selecting
India and 33 percent Brazil. While 62 percent of US companies are looking to
China for growth, the UK is set to be the biggest investor in Poland with 19
percent of UK respondents selecting that market.

Meanwhile 87 percent of business leaders from both
developed and emerging markets are actively engaging in emerging markets,
despite 56 percent acknowledging that they associate emerging markets with
political instability. This includes 55 percent of Singaporean respondents, 45
percent of Middle Eastern and 40 percent of South African businesses that have
already set up operations in emerging markets.

Despite the potential lying in emerging markets,
companies moving to these markets are faced with several challenges. The most
significant of them is political instability as noted by 57 percent of the
respondents. Lack of reliable communication infrastructure is also a blocking
factor for over one-third of those surveyed and was the fourth most selected
item in the survey. Other factors include government regulation, established
competition and lack of skilled staff.

While talent was identified as a critical challenge by 37
percent of all those surveyed, the kind of talent valued varies from market to
market. While 78 percent of Indian respondents cited software development
skills and 69 percent rating communications technology experience as key
factors, 52 percent of Middle East based respondents focus on business
management and 63 percent of Chinese business leaders look for general
education levels as an indicator.

Having reliable communications amongst all
branches/territories and a flexible business strategy emerged as the most
important with 28 percent of respondents selecting them. Reliable
communications is the most important factor according to business leaders in
the USA, Germany and Hong Kong. 

As part of the survey, Tata Communications also asked
respondents what characteristics they felt most important in a
telecommunications supplier. Fifty four percent selected reliability and 34
percent security, with a third also choosing experience across multiple markets
(both emerging and developed) as essential.

Vinod Kumar, MD and CEO, Tata Communications, said, For
companies to capitalize on that potential we need to see greater levels of
investment in the infrastructure that is essential to support it. That will
inevitably require more focus on developing talent and innovative thinking in
markets that can have less educational investment in those areas. It is clear
that businesses are prioritizing communications and digital infrastructure as a
critical part of their operations. The ability to manage those communications
and to ensure reliability and security requires a level of global, and in
particular, emerging market experience.”

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