Sri Lankan firms told tough conditions at home should not decide foreign expansion

Mar 19, 2008 (LBO) – A top Indian consultant says fledgling firms should deal with government regulations and difficult business conditions at home instead of going abroad to avoid them. “You cannot go global based on a weak domestic position, that’s probably the worst way to do it,” says Adil Zainulbhai, who heads the Indian office of global consulting firm McKinsey.

“The best way to do it would be to do it on the basis of a strong domestic position.”

He was addressing Sri Lankan members of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), in Colombo.

Adil Zainulbhai, who during his over two decades at McKinsey in the U.S also led the Washington DC office, moved back to India four years ago at a time when thousands of other Indian-born professionals were also coming back.

He says reform of India’s overregulated economy and its apathetic bureaucracy to be more business and people friendly has increased investment by private companies.

Going Overseas

Some Indian companies, buoyed by their export success, are buying businesses overseas and expanding production.

“You see Tata motors going overseas. They are going on the basis of a