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BRAND INDIA: India & China


Business decision makers rank China higher in key attributes


But is India positioned to rise in the ranking


India and China share much in common, including a population size of around 1.3 billion people, a 2,500-mile border, and the distinction of being modern states developed from civilizations dating to the dawn of human history, around 5,000 years ago.


In the mid-twentieth century, both countries reached important turning points. India gained independence in 1947, becoming a democratic republic following centuries of rule by the Mughals and then the British. China established the Communist People’s Republic of China, in 1949, culminating a long, disruptive period after the fall of the Qing Dynasty almost 40 years earlier.


And both countries faced similar a similar challenge: to reduce poverty and drive economic growth, while expanding opportunity and maintaining social stability. In 1979, with the first Special Economic Zones established by Premier Deng Xiaoping, China began sprinting. With economic liberalization, introduced in1991, India adopted the stride of a long-distance runner, picking up the pace with the election of Prime Minster Narendra Modi, in 2014.


China is in its Thirteenth Five-Year Plan, propelled by the efficiencies of centralized economic and political control. Restrained by its democratic process and extensive bureaucracy, India only recently harmonized the various taxations systems of 29 states and seven territories, with the implementation of a national goods and services tax (GST).


Differing systems and experiences have also shaped the way the outside world views China and India, according to BAV’s Best Countries data, which reveals: (1) China ranks higher than India across almost all 65 attributes BAV uses to measure how people worldwide—both the general population and business decision makers—view 80 different countries; and (2) India is well-positioned to rise in key attributes.


India rankings show potential

Both the general population and business decision makers tend to rank India higher than China on certain culture-related attributes, such as being Distinctive or Unique. Business decisions makers rank China marginally higher in having an Influential Culture: China is No. 1 and India is No. 2.  More consequential, business decision makers rank China higher than India—often much higher—on the attributes that are more relevant to doing business.


Business decision makers rank China rank No. 1 in being Economically Influential. They rank India No. 18. China ranks No. 2 in Innovative, just below Japan and above the US. India ranks No. 21. And in being viewed as Connected to the Rest of the World, China ranks No.5, after Japan, the US, France, and the UK. India ranks No. 24, below New Zealand and above Ireland.


Although India lags China in most attributes, India is not far behind. China often ranks in the Top 10, and India in the Top 20. In instances where China ranks in the Top 5, India often ranks in the Top 15. Across most attributes, India usually ranks in the top quarter or even 20 percent of countries, positioned to potentially pass many country competitors.


For example, in these attributes—Entrepreneurial, Politically Influential, and being A Leader—China ranks No. 3, and India ranks within the Top 15. China ranks No. 4 in Technical Expertise, and India ranks No. 14. The company a country keeps is indicative, too. Immediately preceding India in Technical Expertise are countries with strong technology reputations: Finland, Sweden, Israel, and Canada.


Based on the assumption that differentiation is an important predictor of future growth, BAV created a category called Movers by aggregating these attributes—Distinctive, Different, Unique, and Dynamic. BAV found that India ranked No. 3 in the Movers category, below the United Arab Emirates and Singapore—and above China.