Continuing my India trip observations, the next set of observations relates to globalization. Parameters surrounding my observations are documented in this initial posting.
- Signs of globalization were everywhere; for example, the sheer diversity of automobile brands was much greater than 6 years ago. I saw American brands of Ford and Chevrolet, European brands of Volvo and BMV, Asian brands of Honda, Toyota, and Hyundai. Of course, the Indian brands of Maruti, Tata plus the traditional Ambassador vehicles still make their presence. Even noticed a couple of luxury Porsches.
- Brand diversity in food was also quite evident. McDonalds, Subway, Pizza Hut, Pizza Corner, Dominos, KFC, Baskin Robbins, and a coffee chain called Coffee World all have multiple locations in Hyderabad. Six years ago, majority of those brands were not in Hyderabad. However, in the smaller cities in Andhra Pradesh, I did not see the global food restaurants yet. This time, I even noticed a couple of Mexican, Thai, and Italian restaurants, which I had not noticed in the past. Pizza seems to have become much more popular; a pizza from Pizza Corner (owned by a Swiss parent company) tastes somewhat like a pizza at California Pizza Kitchen, which they will deliver directly to your home. A medium vegetarian pizza was 245 rupees (about $5.30).
- Large shopping malls continue to emerge- mega malls with multiple floors of shops. Just by looking at the stores and layout of the malls, you really can’t tell if you are at a mall in India, US, or Europe. The service in these malls are much better than what I’m accustomed to in smaller street shops in India. In these stores, you can buy Reebok, Nike, American Tourister, Movado, Van Heusen, Levi’s- most any brand you can think of. This trip, I was even mistaken as a local in the mall— many of the local shoppers wore much more fashionable western clothes than me. In the past, just by my clothes and hairstyle, people would assume I was from the US.
- One aspect of globalization that was surprising to me was seeing multiple billboards in Kerala promoting a circus and trapeze act of Russian acrobats and circus performers. I can’t imagine that there were a lot of Russian circus acts in Kerala before the last few years, but given the relationship India has had with Russia since the eighties, maybe I am wrong.
- One other aspect of globalization that shocked me was when the driver we were using in Kerala put in CDs of 50 Cent and Papa Roach in the Toyota that he was driving. I would have never guessed that a native Keralan with below average English would own a 50 cent CD. Now, he may have put that music in for our benefit knowing that my wife and I are American, but I don’t think that was the case. Music is truly universal. Of course, my Telugu and Tamil language skills are non-existent and my Hindi is below average, but I enjoy music from all of those languages and I also own Spanish and Greek language CDs.
Links to the other observations from the trip are below
- India trip observations- Economy