The Chindia Post that Wasn’t

May 25, 2013

China’s relationship with India has been in the news over the past few days, mostly because of the visit of Premier Li Keqiang to Delhi. Coincidentally, I am also in Delhi at the moment (been here for a week, studiously avoiding this blog thus far). I’m here negotiating the border dispute visiting some colleagues and negotiating a couple deals for my employer.

This is the point where I am supposed to point out all the differences between the two nations and explain why/why not the bilateral relationship is going in the right/wrong direction, as the case may be. If I throw in some amusing observations about how and to what extent Indian culture is different from China, all the better, particularly if I can refer to toilet habits and/or diet — even better, an eyebrow-raising story about a severe case of Delhi Belly (no, I have been lucky so far).

To be honest, though, my view of the country so far has been from behind either a car, plane or hotel window, and whatever I bloviate about would be useless crap. So I’m not going to bother. Well, one exception: yes, it has hovered around 46 degrees here this week, but it’s not as bad as it sounds since it’s rather arid here at the moment. In other words, it’s a dry heat.

Instead of empty travelogueing, I’ll try to catch up on my news and maybe even try to throw out a post or two this weekend about what’s going on at home. You know, something I actually know about.

10 thoughts on “The Chindia Post that Wasn’t

  1. Chris Devonshire-Ellis

    Not getting “Delhi Belly” is nothing to do with luck. It’s more to do with the fact that India is generally cleaner than most people think and you’ll only get a tummy upset if (1) you’re not used to spicy food and order something too hot or (2) you eat or drink something from one of the unlicensed street vendors (which is generally a stupid thing to do). I’ve been travelling across India for ten years and only got ill once – being when I took a risk concerning water from a street vendor.
    And yes, Delhi is a dry heat. It is, rather like Beijing, pretty close to a major desert.

  2. Mark Hannant

    I agree with Chris. “Delhi Belly” only exists as a condition in peoples imaginations because its a stupid rhyming caricature. It’s a country with 1.3billion people so it’s not that unhygenic. And the food is great! Been there several times and never got ill nor do I know any other of my colleagues who did. That myth should be busted!!!
    And I remember the old Hong Kong joke about telling people were from mainland China because they always steralized their chopsticks in boiling tea first.

  3. Andy Clark

    Stan an interesting “Chindia” article here by Chris Devonshire-Ellis about whether its more difficult to do business in India or China. http://www.asiabriefing.com/news/2013/05/is-doing-business-in-india-more-difficult-than-in-china/
    Any comments on that? Or still early days for you to say? I have a feeling this sort of comparison will become more common that it has been in the past. Are any other legal counsel you know of in China also taking on India duties?

  4. Chris Devonshire-Ellis

    @Andy Clark – thanks for the link, I only just saw this. Stan I think is still new to India so let me attempt to answer the points you raised.
    No, there are not many lawyers taking on both China and India expertise, although this is changing as a handful of Indian law firms have set up operations in China. The huge blue chip firms may have offices in both China and India but there appears very little communications or expertise sharing between them.
    Anyway, what is often forgotten in China is that foreign lawyers cannot practice and advice clients on matters of Chinese law, and occassionally the MOJ cracks down on that. Only Chinese lawyers can practice Chinese law.
    That said, the Indian legal system forbids firms from having more than 20 partners, which has meant the Indian legal profession has remained somewhat undeveloped and consists of mainly small, family owned practices restricted to expertise in one city or state. That becomes problematic when attempting to deal with national issues as state regualtiosn can vary enormously.
    India also has restrictions on foreign forms in India – Dezan Shira are registered as a consulting practice there, not a law firm, and we have to be careful who we advise and what we say. That is the same for all foreign firms in India. Broadly speaking the domestic market for law firms is not as developed as in China, where we have seen the likes of King & Wood and so on become prominent, however that said there is far less collusion between lawyers and the Chinese Government in matters of law than in India, where the judiciary is independent.
    In fact, both countries need legal reform to get their levels of technical expertise up to the standards of their own developing MNC’s, and both are short of talent in this field. In China, that probably is not on the agenda any time soon (in fact if one looks at China’s audit profession it has recently become more closed to foreign participation in China, not more open), whereas in democratic India reform is more likely, albeit there are vested interests with local firms not wanting foreign competition. But the government does want reform in India’s legal profession, and although it may take time, I think that is going to occur sooner or later.
    As for the competencies of Indian lawyers vs. China lawyers, on the international arena and in international laws there are more jointly qualified Indian lawyers with bar qualifications in other jurisdictions than I suspect there are Chinese.
    I hope that helps give a basic overview of the legal profession differences between the two.
    Our India Briefing website refers: http://www.india-briefing.com
    It would be interesting to hear Stan’s comments also on this.
    Best regards – Chris

  5. Opus Two

    How is it always forgotten that foreign lawyers can not practice in China? Isn’t that normal for most jurisdictions?