After Chinese toys, Chinese watches and Chinese consumer durables, it’s now the turn of Chinese workers to enter the Indian market. A few Indian companies have hired skilled and semi-skilled Chinese workers to work on large infrastructure projects.
There are several thousand Chinese workers in India. Here's why:
- Shortage of skilled workers in India
- Chinese workers are more productive
- Chinese contractors prefer Chinese workers
- Chinese workers have global exposure
Reliance Industries is believed to have started this trend, when it awarded a part of the contract to build its 1,400-km East-West gas pipeline connecting Kakinada in Andhra Pradesh to Baruch in Gujarat to the China Petroleum Pipeline Bureau, which “imported” about 1,200 Chinese workers to execute the project. “We awarded the contracts on the basis of a global tender and it is our contractor who got these workers,” clarifies a Reliance executive.
“There’s an acute shortage of skilled and semi-skilled workers in India. And, Chinese workers, though not necessarily cheaper, are known to be more productive,” says I. Syam Prasad Reddy, Managing Director of the Hyderabad-based Indu Projects.
Though no reliable estimates are available on the number of foreign workers in India, some executives say the number could be between 5,000 and 10,000 in South India alone.
—E. Kumar Sharma