Monday, February 01, 2010

It's Happening in Mumbai

Mumbai, IndiaI have just returned from a week of business meetings in Mumbai (formerly Bombay), India, with a range of leading companies in multiple industries. Taking all the meetings as a whole, I saw a dynamic business community rearing its head, both nationally and internationally. There were those companies that saw enormous expansion within the Mumbai area only and, with a population nearing 20 million there, that opportunity is apparent. But there were also several $500,000+ firms that see market opportunities in the U.S. and Europe. Our schedule was set up by our IPREX partner firm in Mumbai: Concept, a leading public relations and investor relations firm and 2007 “Agency of the Year” in India, which has offices in key cities.

Mumbai is clearly a communications-conscious business community. Firms we spoke with saw the importance of communications in terms of building company value and launching new products. They were as concerned about the implications of social media and how best to channel its uses as we are. They realize that proper use of communications can enhance their growth, and they see enormous merit in moving in the right direction.

Physically, these corporations were generally set back behind gates in courtyard settings, as opposed to street-front structures. This certainly speaks to security concerns. Understandably, security was strong at both our hotel and other public buildings. At many, security personnel checked cars before entering by lifting the hoods and searching the trunks. Next, individuals walked through a security gate and then were scanned with an electronic wand.

Mumbai is still a contrast in styles. There were quite a few more skyscrapers since we were there in 2005, but by and large it remains a developing city. You still see an occasional cow walking in the street, and there are still 8-9 million people living in slums.

Nevertheless, there is a momentum in Mumbai that is reminiscent of New York. You can feel the electricity the minute you enter the city. The traffic is among the most crowded in the world because there is no underground or aboveground transportation system (although one is now under construction). The city has some stunning architecture, much of it built during its British colonial days. Dotted with more modern structures, the elimination of its slums, and hopefully cleaner buildings from yesteryear, Mumbai has the potential to be a masterpiece, contrasting the old and the new.

Technorati Tags: IPREX, Mumbai, slums, India, Concept Communication

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