Are Indians smarter than the Chinese? Why are most Asian CEOs of big American firms Indians but not Chinese, Koreans, or Japanese?
Youji Hajime, A Japanese.
Indian elites are, overall, smarter than Chinese, Korean and Japanese elite, because their education and life plan are geared toward education, work and immigration in West. And that is the problem of India where its elite are largely disconnected from domestic mass.
The best school in India send its graduates (who are taught in English) to UK, USA, Australia, Canada, etc. Their achievements in West may make Indian proud but the system is perverse. India is effectively subsidising development in West by educating then sending its best and brightest.
Chinese, Korean and Japanese study in their own language as their textbook in science, math and engineering are all in their own language. After doing their undergraduate study in their best university, most get their job in corporation, university and go nment in their own country. Only very few then seek to do graduates study in West. The pool of talent who may choose to work in West is extreamly small (though, China due to sheer size produce large number of exchage students).
In India, their textbook at advance level are not even in their domestic language. And primary education for poor in India are atrocious. Many teachers often don’t bother to show up. This doesn’t happen for poor in Japan, Korea or China. China has lifted it’s one billion population out of poverty. For a developing country, China do extreamly well.
So, India do have very smart people who are educated in English since childhood, geared toward life and success in West. But they are swamped by poorly educated mass. So, overall, Indian are not smarter than Japanese, Chinese or (South) Korean, and believe it or not, possibly worse than North Korea. The last time North Korea participated in HDI (human development index) was 1995 and it’s ranking was 75 out of 174. India’s ranking for 2016 is 131 out of 188.
James Chrisholm, Looking down a kaleidoscope
India was colonised by the Brits for 500 years under the British Raj. They have been used as administrators, mercenaries and workers for a long time. Many were used in the civil service. There are a huge number of Indians in the commonwealth as well as as in UK. They are educated in the English system since the British destroyed their sanskrit based education and replaced it with the British cirriculum. After centuries of colonisation, many of them think and behave like the British and cultural barriers are much lower. Many are educated and working in the States as well.
Not surprising that many of them work in the English speaking firms as they have been for hundreds of years. The whites trusted them as stewarts to run the colonies.
Moreover, they are more expressive and congenial which are traits that the Americans admire. The Chinese are more reserved and shy, moreover, oratorical skill is not a cultural imperative i.e. they prefer to prove with their work than talk. Moverover, the trust in Chinese or any other East Asian is very limited due to the fear of the “Chinese peril” and the recent xenophobia over trade.
It’s nothing to do with smartness, it has to do with familiarity based on colonial relations and cultural traits
Ng Say Joe, Founder (2017-present)
In my country Malaysia we have many Indians and Chinese, so I think I’m qualified to give my answer here. From my experience, Indians tend to overpromise and under-deliver, while Chinese tend to be conservative and deliver what is promised.
Since I’m Chinese myself so I might be bias, but from my observation, Chinese are usually very hardworking and smarter. While Indians are very smooth and persuasive talkers and better politicians.
So in big corporations, when it comes to American CEO positions therefore I think Indians are more suitable for it. However, Chinese are good executors, so for companies that value executor rather than politician -styled CEO I think Chinese would perform better.
Winnugroho Wiratman, lives in Indonesia and Japan
I’m not either Chinese, Koreans, Japanese, nor Indian. I wrote this from my own prespective.
1.Language. Indians have better English ability compare to Chinese, Korean, and Japanese. This ability makes them easily to work, adapt, and express themselves in American firms.
2.The ability to express their mind. Apart from language ability, Indians are used to exrpress what’s on their mind. Like to debate on many things and speak up their opinions on many things. This habit is considered to be lack in the other 3, especially Japanese. To speak up your mind is also considered to be a good value in American firm.
3.Opportunity back home. Japanese, Korean, and Chinese choose to have carrier back home because they have the opportunity to have a good life there.
Maybe I am generalizing or maybe there are other factors. I want to hear it.
Yes, Indians are smarter than the Chinese. Indians being CEOs of US firms, not Chinese (although she has larger population than India), Korean , Japanese is a significant undeniable proof.
Indians are not just smarter than the Chinese, Koreans or Japanese; they are smarter than Germans, French, Italians, Russians,Spanish, etc (excluding Americans) because Americans don’t give them CEO jobs. In fact, it is safe to say that most races are not as smart as Indians because Americans don’t employ them as CEOs as much as they do to Indians (it’s a clear and uncontroversial fact).
So, only Americans are possibly smarter than Indians because American CEOs of big American firms still outnumber Indian CEOs.
Siloo Kapadia, former Semi-retired
It is not a matter of being “smarter” as it is a matter of trying harder to fit into Americano society. Yes, Indians also segregate themselves very much so. However, more often than not Indian immigrants will try harder to blend into the corporate social fabric.
For example, I knew of a Chinese-Americano (not immigrant) who worked in the Postal services. She told me that occasionally they had special get-togethers for Chinese postal workers only! I cannot imagine Indians doing that. Indians will work overtime to play golf, and hob nob with their non-Asian counterparts in the company.
That does not mean that all Indians are like that. We too have our “Indian-only” segment that is very strong in USA. I used to know a few of them and often had arguments about it, as I believe that once you are in a country you should try hard to adopt and adapt, not stay separate.
In the future, as India continues its rise I believe we will see a sharp decline in capable Indian immigrants, especially to places in decline like USA. This is some ways is already happening. Many Indians who go to USA also want to return.
Chan Seow Khoon
I am from Singapore which is multi raciial , there are chinese 60%, Indian15%, malay20%, eurasian and other race5% , I found that during my school days the Chinese usually top the class because they are the majority and occasionally the Malay or the Indian also do top the class.
My conclusion all humans are equal there are intelligent one as well as not intelligent
Semar Manganov, former CIA agent, Retired
In my experience, American company feel comfortable with Indian n Philippines employee due to the English spoken, salary isnot too expensive, quality of education, hard working and be able to handle scolding from the big boss & big pressures.
Straight up gut punch – If “We” Indians individually and collectively were indeed so smart should’nt Google, Adobe and Microsoft be Indian companies based out of India founded by Indians?
Swagato Barman Roy
Out of 1.2billion Indians you choose 2 to make a point?
As questions like this prove, too many Indians are not that smart at all.
And since when did Jeff Bezzos identify himself as an Indian?
Bhanu Prakash Reddy Konepalli, B.E Electrical and Electronics Engineering, Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani (2022)
Yes I believe that we have smart Indians who have achieved great heights as the leaders of tech companies.But we need some smart Indians who:
1.Can help to increase the connectivity between people of villages ,towns and cities.
2.Are smart enough to make education free and better quality.
3.Remove co ption to the roots.
4.Are smart enough to make a country where women can express themselves , feel secure and can do things they want to do instead of fear for sexual offenders.
5.Give access to education that every kid who has to work.
David Seidman, Security Engineering Manager at Google (2016-present)
Approximately 1 in 7 people in the world is Indian, and many Indians speak the language used in the world’s largest economy. There are about 4 times more Indians than Americans. It’s not surprising that several Indians have become CEOs in America.
Also, Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, is not Indian. Satya Nadella of Microsoft is of Indian origin while Jeff Bezos of Amazon is not.
Karthik Iyer, Tuck MBA, GMAT 800
Before answering a question, we must understand the (sometimes hidden) assumptions in the question itself. Some of the assumptions here are:
1.Indians are smarter people in general (What does “smart” mean though? Is there a consistent definition you could apply everywhere? Without a consistent definition, can you stop yourself and your biases from judging Indians to be smarter wherever that is convenient?)
2.“Smartness” is what really matters for becoming a CEO
3.Since 2 big tech companies have Indian CEOs, we can conclude that the set of Indians including about 1.2 billion people is generally smarter than the rest of the world
These assumptions are not surprising, to be honest. Growing up in India, I heard different variations of these and other similar assumptions from the adults around me, like:
1.“Indian culture is the greatest culture in the world and this was proved by Swami Vivekananda in 1893” (!!!) – my social sciences teacher when I was in 9th standard
2.“Only Indian culture values family. Western culture is all about money” – loosely quoting the thoughts of relatives and even teachers who I grew up around + from the portrayal of western countries in Indian movies
3.“38% of NASA employees are Indians, 30% of Microsoft employees are Indians, etc.” – fake statistics from common Indian forwarded emails in the early 2000s
Given this background, I can totally understand if you grew up feeling that Indians are smarter or better than people from other countries (especially the USA, since that is the most common example of the typical western country used in these comparisons).
However, once we have grown up we have the choice to reevaluate the stuff we were raised to believe. Especially with resources like Google, Wikipedia, and Quora at our disposal. I would encourage you to reevaluate some of your own assumptions in your question, but I can probably get things started here. Here is my take on some of your assumptions:
1.The CEO of Apple is not an Indian. This can be easily verified on Google or Wikipedia.
2.The founders of Google, Microsoft, and Apple are not Indians. Even if we believe Indians possess more “smartness” that makes them CEOs, there may be some other kind of “smartness” that Americans possess more that makes them start more companies.
3.How does your environment affect your success? We know some famous Indians who became CEOs in the US. How do we think they would have fared if they had just stayed in India? Would India have given them similar opportunities? Why not? Is it possible that in India we generally have an environment that discourages asking questions and exploring new answers – I think the answer is yes. If such issues exist in a society, would it really matter if you are smarter – would you be able to accomplish something with that extra smartness if the environment around you wasn’t favorable to using your smartness?