While their neighbor to the northeast, China, is a very challenging country to understand for westerners (both the culture and language), India is less challenging at least from a language perspective, due to their 19th Century colonization by the British. India has two official languages, Hindi and English, and most business in the country is conducted in English. With the world's largest middle class population, an estimated 350 million people, it is a haven of entrepreneurship. For any company wanting to expand into Asia, India is a logical starting point. Here are five blogs that will help you learn more about this fascinating country.
Any exploration of Indian blogs should start with DesiPundit. Its tagline is "A little wit. A little wisdom. Lots of India." It is really something of a compilation of the best posts from the best blogs of the Indian blogosphere. It is divided into three sections: Community, New and Upcoming, and Featured. Community is composed of 43 carefully screened bloggers who contribute their blog posts to DesiPundit. New and Upcoming features posts from those bloggers who are not officially part of the DesiPundit community, and Featured is simply the best of the content from the other two sections. DesiPundit has an interesting mix of business, culture and current news, and is an excellent way to get a feel for what is happening in India.
If you want a purely business focused blog then check out the Trak.in blog. It is the only Indian blog to make the list of the Top 50 Business Blogs of 2008 compiled by Business Pundit. Trak.in is authored by Arun Prabhudesai, an Indian IT professional, so it does have a heavy focus on technology businesses and startups. Having said that, some of the most popular posts from last year dealt with such issues as India's car industry, satellite TV in India, and the legal environment for doing business in India. Prabhudesai writes a new post pretty much every day and most blog posts generate many comments.
Marketing Practice (http://marketingpractice.blogspot.com/)
Any label converter who is interested in the Indian label market should read this blog. It bills itself as the world's largest online resource on Indian brands, and with hundreds of blog posts over three years I wouldn't dispute that claim. It is authored by a marketing "evangelist" at an Indian university who just goes by the name of Harish B. He discusses all kinds of products: beverages, food, personal care, soap and shampoo, just to name a few. The focus is on the marketing of these products so there is often a discussion of the label and packaging. Many of the products dicussed are from leading American or European companies such as Johnson & Johnson, Unilever or Cadbury-Schweppes. Recent posts discussed the failure of an antiseptic product called Savlon and the relaunch of a Cadbury chocolate product into the Indian marketplace.
Ajay Shah's Blog (http://ajayshahblog.blogspot.com/)
Ajay Shah is a Senior Fellow at the National Institute for Public Finance and Policy in New Delhi, and his blog is the leading financial blog in India. He received his Ph.D. in economics from the University of Southern California and he is on the board of directors for numerous organizations in the Indian financial sector. He also writes regularly for Indian business publications, as well as for The Wall Street Journal. He has been blogging regularly (almost every day) since 2005, writing about Indian financial markets and government monetary policy. He certainly doesn't hold back on his criticism of the Indian government and the Reserve Bank of India, and he has a lot to say about the recent meltdown in global credit markets. If you want to find out how the global financial crisis is impacting India, this is the blog to read.
India Uncut (http://indiauncut.com/)
The India Uncut blog by Amit Varma is one of the most popular blogs in all of Asia. It is an upbeat and lighthearted blog that focuses on a wide range of topics such as politics, business, economics, science, media and sport. Varma is a prolific blogger often writing several times a day and his posts are sometimes funny and often thought provoking. He writes about a side of India that you don't read about anywhere else. Reading his blog will definitely leave you better informed about life in India.