FEW have noticed them, even fewer possibly grasped the significance. But while all our attention has been focussed on the high brand awareness, high ad-spend American and Japanese transnationals, a quiet—almost self-effacing—group of gigantic corporations have been moving in, determined to grab huge market shares in areas ranging from real estate to consumer electronics, automobiles to power transmission. They are the Korean chaebols
—highly diversified industrial groups—several of them among the 50 largest corporations on the planet.
The South Koreans simply appear to be more serious than the Japanese or the Americans about the Indian market. They are willing to invest more. And they may have also got their strategies more tuned to the Indian realities than their rivals.
Consider the investments, growing rapidly from Rs 61.5 crore in 1991 to Rs 106.8 crore in 1994. And in the first four months of 1995 alone, investments totalled Rs 72.6 crore. Since the reforms began, about 100 Indo-Korean collaborations have been or are in the process of being...