On my way to attend one of South India's largest IT partner association conferences in the idylluc gallic surroundings of Puducherry (a former French settlement), as I wait at the Chennai airport waiting for my colleague, my thought wandered around to heroines from Tamil Nadu who ruled Bollywood for a long time. In particular, I was wondering about Dream Girl Hema Malini as well as the Chandni hottie Sridevi. And as often happens when your mind is wandering around sitting in an airport lounge, I remembered two of their seminal movies Seeta Aur Geeta and Chaalbaaz.
Now apart from the superb histrionics performed by these two versatile actresses, what else do you remembrer best about these two movies? The utter confusion leading to total chaos caused by the two duplicate sisters and how it gave rise to many funny situations. My wandering mind suddenly found a parallel about this identical copycats within our IT industry; and, unfortunately here I am not talking about a situation which would be funny or humorous, well at least for most.
Yes, I am thinking about copycat products flooding the Indian IT market. They might be originating from diverse sources-parallel imports, fake products, grey market, smuggled contrabands-but the damage they are causing to the entire IT ecosystem (manufacturers, OEMs, partners, resellers, retailers) is immense.
Unfortunately this problem is endemic only in countries like India, China and other developing markets. It is virtually unheard of in very developed markets. I will give you a recent example. As I told you earlier last week, I was in Japan and there I met the top management of a large electronics major who has a significant presence in India. When I asked them what they are doing about the Indian grey market whereby they are losing nearly 20% of their revenues, they kept on looking at each other. I thought they have not understood the question and tried reemphasizing with the interpreter. However, then I realized they do not even understand what is a grey market as they have never faced anything close to it.
Trust me, this was not a funny situation; rather I was deeply embarrassed about the image it portrays of our country. The grey market (or parallel import market) is just not ruining our economy, but it also projects seriously negative image about the country in the global arena. Investors willing to venture into India are often having second thoughts-- and why?
Because a very minor section of our society consists of frauds who go all the way indulging in nefarious activities just to make a quick bug. They do not understand that in the process they are blackening the faces of the vast majority. I would like to take a pledge on behalf of The DQ Week that we would take all measures and initiatives to curb this menace. Are all the channel partners willing to join us in this pledge? Anyway I can see my colleague now arriving, but I hope that these just not remain one midwinter night's wondering, but become catalysts for concrete action.