We’ve all been dealing with call centers getting routed to India for a few years now. In the beginning, the experiences were horrible as people navigated the many communications, process and cultural issues. Things seem to begetting better lately though. We are more understanding of the hurdles we need to get over the have international process and service work out, and the Indians really have a leg up on other nations that we might offshore to because they already have a long history with the Brits.
I’ve talked a bit about the Indians and my belief that they have a very serious leg up over the Chinese when it comes to offshoring. Certainly things like manufacturing or basic programming can go to China, but the really profitable stuff like engineering or customer service type work can’t possibly go to China due to a major language gap. So I’ have written.
I’ve been doing a bit more research on this and it actually turns out that China has been teaching English beginning in middle school for quite some time now. In the next couple of decades, they will have more English speakers than the rest of the world combined (except India of course). I’ve actually had the opportunity lately to speak with a Chinese born English speaking person and the accent was no more distinct than that of someone from India. It appears I may have been wrong.
I had always thought that the advantage India would have over China would be language. English is an official language over there after all. However, while both countries have their advantages, I’d have to say that China might have a better culture to capitalize on capitalism. So if English is not a major competitive consideration in another decade or so, the tides just may switch to the other side of the Indian Ocean.