The Forbes magazine says India is a very attractive destination for stock market investors and calls it a "great secular bull market". Writing in the latest issue of the Forbes magazine, Carl Delfeld, head of global advisory firm Chartwell Partners, says, "India has the potential to be the next great bull market of the 21st century, one which I believe will be a better investment opportunity than even China".
"India presents investors with the opportunity of a lifetime and its democratic government, stronger financial system, market-based interest rates and history of respecting property and intellectual rights make it a better long-term play than China".
He gives six reasons "why India should prove a more fertile place to invest than China, and why investors should consider committing more of their capital to the subcontinent".
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1. Unlike China, India is a functioning democracy with respect for property rights and the rule of law. China's authoritarian state may have the advantage at making quicker decisions and pushing through economic reforms, but without democratic political reform, it will eventually hit a speed bump the size of the Great Wall. India's multi-party parliamentary system with its obstructionist bureaucracy is far from ideal, but at least the daily speed bumps on the road to market reform can be overcome.
2. India is a natural ally of the US. It is now emerging on the global stage and playing classic balance of power politics. America's relationship with China will at best be wary and tense. The fact that many Indian citizens speak English is also a significant advantage both commercially and politically.
3. China's state-owned companies have staying power, but government ownership will limit their growth and potential. Foreign governments will be suspicious of their intentions and likely consider them as an extension of the Chinese government. State ownership will also lead to inefficiencies and an inability to hold onto top management talent.
4. India's capital markets are better than China's. India's stock market was established in 1870 and has 6,000 publicly-traded companies and a more modern financial and banking system that allocates capital fairly well. Only 10 per cent of bank credit in China goes to private companies. India has 100 companies with a market cap over $1 billion.
5. India is a very youthful nation, with 50 per cent of its population under 25 years of age. This leads to less strain on its national budget, and also brings hope that the younger generation will drag the bureaucracy and politicians to implement market reforms more swiftly. China's one-child policy has backfired, leading to an aging population which will lead to manpower shortages and tremendous pressure on its national budget. Twenty per cent of Shanghai residents are over 60 years old and by 2020, one-third of Shanghai's population of 13.5 million will be over 60.
6. India has a more balanced and sustainable economy. Nearly two-thirds of its GDP is attributable to consumer spending and 50 per cent of its GDP comes from the service sector. China's economy is more dependent on foreign investment, exports and resources. India's 250 million people living in poverty is a tragedy but the Indian middle class has quadrupled during the past two decades to reach 250 million as well.