Some facts worth pondering upon…
- The first telegraph machine was invented in 1838. Forty years later Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone. It took over another forty years for us to invent the silicon integrated circuit chip in the 1960s. But it has taken less than forty years since the silicon chip to put all of those things – a telegraph, a telephone, a television, a computer chip, and much, much more – into one device that fits into the palm of our hand, the smart phone.
- NASA’s own website says, “Your cell phone has more computing power than the computers used during the Apollo era
- Today, there are almost as many mobile phones in the world as there are people. More than one-third of the world is online – a fivefold increase over the last decade. Facebook now has more than 1 billion active users; YouTube gets more than 100 hours of video content added every minute; and over 175 million tweets are added to Twitter timelines every single day. Interestingly enough, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter did not exist a decade ago!
- According to a 2012 McKinsey study, it took Britain more than 100 years to double its economic output per person during its industrial revolution and the US later took more than 50 years to do the same. More than a century later, China and India have doubled their GDP per capita in 12 and 16 years respectively. Significantly, China and India accomplished this while having about 100 times the population base as the US and Britain did during their industrial revolutions. The report goes on to state that “the two leading emerging economies are experiencing roughly ten times the economic acceleration of the Industrial Revolution, on 100 times the scale – resulting in an economic force that is over 1000 times as big”.
- For the last century, the developing world produced for the developed world to consume. But by 2020, emerging Asia will become the world’s largest consuming block, overtaking North America. This changing balance of power is redefining the world of business. China is poised to be the world’s largest market for luxury cars and luxury goods. At the same time, Asian multinational companies, including several from India, are expanding outside of their traditional markets and bringing innovations for the bottom-of-the-pyramid consumers from the developing world to consumers in the developed world. Narayana Hrudayalaya Hospital right here in India is a great example of these trends. It is the largest heart surgery hospital in the world, doing 6000 operations a year. Its efficiency and innovations allow it to perform world-class heart surgeries for $2000 – a fraction of what it would cost in the US, yet at the same levels of safety. Now it is looking to export its expertise and business model to serve American patients by opening a hospital in the Cayman Islands – a one hour flight from Miami.
- Today according to World Wildlife Fund, we are consuming the resources of 1.5 planets. The human population took more than 250,000 years to reach the 1 billion mark in 1800s. It took a century more to reach 2 billion in 1927. Then it took us only 32 years to reach 3 billion around 1960 and only 50 years since then to add another 4 billion to reach 7 billion in 2011. By 2050, there will be another 2.3 billion more people on earth sharing the same space we have today. Almost all of them will be in the developing world. If the developing world consumed in the future at the rate the developed world consumes today, we would need somewhere between 3-5 planets. Obviously that is non-sustainable.
- Even as over 2 billion more people become more connected and economically active consuming the scarce resources of our planet, we still have one billion people going to bed hungry every night, 2.8 billion people short of water and 2.3 billion people living without access to basic sanitation.
Moral of the story: The world that we are living in is increasingly complex, uncertain, volatile and ambiguous.
(Excerpts take from the speech delivered by Mr. Harish Manwani, Chairman, HUL, at the company’s AGM held on Friday July 26, 2013).