Econintersect: Vikram Pandit, CEO of Citigroup, gave a lengthy interview to The Economic Times (part of The Times of India). Part of that interview was published today (March 5).
Among the topics discussed were Citibank’s long history in India (over 100 years), the extent of Citi’s business activities there today and Pandit’s view of the growth of the Indian economy.Pandit said that Citi had been doing business in India since 1902 and today has thousands of people on the ground, millions of retail clients and over 45,000 corporate institutional customers.
Some of the questions and answers from The Electronic Times interview:
What are your thoughts about the expansion story from an India standpoint? We have got about 12% of India’s GDP coming from Indian billionaires and that is only going to go up in the years ahead. Are you looking at a huge corporate opportunity or consumer opportunity?
We are looking at both – every aspect of India is growing. You have large companies that are now becoming multinationals and it’s a different type of multinational. They are not multinationals that are going to the developed markets, but they are going into the emerging markets and so they need that help. We help them around the world because we are in more than a 100 countries and we are doing for them what we used to do for the large American and British multinationals.
It is also about the smaller middle-sized companies. There are so many entrepreneurs in India and it is wonderful to watch the energy and the confidence. We provide them with lots of services to help them grow.
Talking about the individual Indian consumer, there are so many of them in cities and so many of them aspire to be global citizens and to travel around the world. We are very well equipped to help them. So each of these areas are growing and our plans are to help our clients grow, help them with what they need and we will grow as they grow.
From a business contribution point of view, where does India stand in emerging markets? Also, where will it play a global role or possibly a role in your global ambition in the future?
When we look at our core business Citicorp , all of the emerging markets are about 50% of Citi’s business which is a significant number. It includes our Latin American operation, Asia and Eastern Europe. Also, we are one of the largest banks in Africa. We do business in about 34 countries in Africa as well. India is a major part of our emerging market story and we certainly expect it to be much larger going forward.
Within emerging markets, how do you see India engaging with the rest of them and Asia?
If we go back to the notion of globalization, it used to be emerging markets trading with developed markets almost like a hub and everything used to go through the developed markets. Today we are in much more networked world and it is really the emerging market to emerging market flows that are growing exponentially which means it’s about India’s business with Africa, with China, with Latin America.
A number of our companies are taking full advantage of the capabilities they have and the demand that is being generated. We are in 109 countries – most of those countries are in Latin America, Africa and Asia. Indian multinationals are overseeing them use their ability to operate extremely well in this emerging market and translate that to others. It is great to see that happen.
According to Wikipedia, Pandit was born in Nagpur, India and moved to the United States when he was 16 years old.
Submitted by Sanjeev Kulkarni