Jeff Immelt, Chairman and CEO of General Electric is a smart person. When he speaks, a lot of people listen. In an interesting interview to Business Today, he picks up many topic threads.
Manufacturing and Technology based industries versus Service based economy: This is what many people have been saying including Peter Schiff. They say that US needs to produce something tangible other than just money from thin air – aka services. And a lot of those services are consumed in-house. You need to sell something to outsiders to enjot the money. Whoever thinks that things like Exports, Manufacturing and Technical expertise are things of the past for an economy like US, should think twice.
I really think there has to more focus on areas like exports, and the key focus is to create some of these higher-end middle-class jobs. The U.S. has to repurpose its economy, has to be more technology-focused, more manufacturing-based. The notion that the US can be a service economy is just completely wrong.
Little did one notice that China has surpassed US as a manufacturing base. Whether this output is based on business KPIs is another matter.
Manufacturing output in China has I think surpassed the US in the last 12 months so it’s the biggest market in the world.
Doing Business in India: Immelt is very happy doing business in India and feels he doesn’t face any hurdles here.
China vs India: He sees India growing at 30% for the next half a decade while China growing at 10-15%, but off of a higher base. If you thought that current growth has been crazy, wait for the future to unfold!
I didn’t realize that India was the only country for GE where it had a separate management. GE India has a separate CEO, where the businesses report into him. And that plays into his confidence about Indians as entrepreneurial class.
The entrepreneurial middle class of India has almost no peer in terms of how fast it has moved, how competitive the people are. The one thing we have never missed on is betting on the human resource talent in India.
For a company that will be at the heart of India’s development – from Energy to Water to Infrastructure to Highways – Immelt sees India as a USD 10 billion! That’s huge for even a company as large as GE. Next few years are for the Emerging markets, India being a prominent one amongst them!
Lastly, some interesting wisdom for personal life from one of the top CEOs in the world today:
If I am not at work, I am with my family. I keep it simple – one company, one wife and one child.
Just Keep it Simple!
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