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478 Business Tour in India 1 – Part 1

 Gun-Ho, by experience, knew how handy a book could be during a long flight. For the trip to India, he carried a few weekly magazines and a novel. He also didn't forget to wear long sleeves knowing that it could be cold inside the flight.

"Sir, you seem to be very well prepared for the trip. I see you carrying a magazine as well."

The director person in a small company, who looked like an anchovy, commented. He was the person who sat next to him during the preliminary meeting for this trip. For some reason, he sat next to Gun-Ho again in the flight.

The airplane flew overnight as it passed over the South China Sea and Hong Kong. After finishing reading the weekly magazines that he brought, Gun-Ho grabbed his novel to continue his reading. A flight attendant brought him a blanket.

They finally arrived at Delhi Airport.

"This airport doesn't look very nice. It seems to be very outdated."

"I know, right? It looks like an airport in a province in China."

After they all passed the immigration and customs, they got in a tour bus that was waiting for them at the arrival exit. A man, who looked like he was about the same age as Gun-Ho, came onto the bus. He was wearing glasses. He spoke to the party,

"Welcome to India. You are here for the business tour. I am the assistant manager of KOTRA's branch office in India."

One of India's official languages was English, and it seemed that every worker for KOTRA in India spoke English very well. Well, KOTRA required high qualification for their new hires, and it wasn't surprising that they required English speaking capability for those who would work in KOTRA's branch office in India. Most of the workers with an assistant manager position would probably be about the same age as Gun-Ho.

'I wonder how much they are getting paid for their job at KOTRA.'

Gun-Ho was receiving approximately 40 million won in total as a monthly salary excluding dividends or other income being generated from his personal assets. His salary with GH Mobile was 15 million won, and he was receiving another 15 million from Dyeon Korea; he also was getting 3 million won from GH Media and 7 million won from GH Development. Even with the highest qualification, it would be hard to find someone who would get this much in Korea except those with a wealthy family business. Moreover, Gun-Ho's interest income was at least 4 billion won annually.

"Wow, look at the street trees. Those are beautiful."

Gun-Ho thought that India probably had the most amazing roadside trees in the world. They were tall and fully grown trees just like Ginko trees in Yongmun Mountain in Korea. The streets in India were not very clean, but their streets were incredibly gorgeous. Indian people had dark complexions, and the streets were messy. Gun-Ho couldn't have a good first impression of the country.

There were tons of signage stands standing on the street. Gun-Ho saw many Japanese signages among them, such as Toyota, Honda, and Toshiba. Korean signages were found as well-Hyundai and Samsung. When Gun-Ho saw Korean standing signboards, he felt good.

On the first day of the trip, the group visited Hyundai's automobile manufacturing factory. A Ph.D. student from the University of Delhi came to interpret for them. That student interpreter spoke Hindi instead of English when he talked with the tour bus drivers. The Hyundai factory was clean. They said that working at Hyundai was considered one of the most enviable jobs among young Indian men. Visitors had to pass the security before entering the factory. There were barricades in place, and the young Indian security guards were controlling the access.

"Having a job with the Hyundai factory comes with lots of privileges and benefits. You can easily use the restaurants around the factory on credit. Also, if you are a single man, you would have a wide range of choice to select your bride."

The tour guide described the high status of Hyundai in India as such.

Gun-Ho observed that the people in the management had fair skins while the workers in the production field had darker complexions. When Gun-Ho's tour group walked out of the production field, the factory manager came to see them. The tour guide introduced Gun-Ho to him as the team leader of the group. Gun-Ho gave the factory manager the gift that KOTRA prepared.

After completing the business tour in Hyundai auto manufacturing factory, the tour group headed to Haryana in order to visit its vendor company's factories. On the way there on the bus, one of the tour group members asked a question to the guide/interpreter, "Does India still have the caste system?"

"It's banned by law. However, it is clearly still prevalent all over India. They still have four categories-Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas, and the Shudras. There is even an outcast category-the untouchables."

"Really?"

"Even between the employees in the management of Hyundai factory, the ones who belong to Vaishyas don't even try to challenge the people from Kshatriyas."

The small company's director person who was sitting next to Gun-Ho commented in response to the tour guide's explanation, "This country is uncivilized and obviously outdated."

The interpreter who was a Ph.D. student at the University of Delhi smiled icily, and said, "That's not true. This country provides a better opportunity for people who are willing to climb up the economic ladder."

"You just said that the caste system still exists."

"They have a quota system which is applicable to the places in good colleges and good companies for each caste category. Therefore, you can find a prime minister and a CEO of a conglomerate, who belong to the low class-Shudras. On the other hand, it is extremely hard to become a prime minister or a CEO of a conglomerate in Korea if you were born into a poor family. In that respect, India's system is more reasonable, and its door to the opportunity to be successful is widely open.

The small company's director couldn't argue further, and he didn't ask a question anymore. Gun-Ho nodded his head.

The tour group visited two vendor companies of the Hyundai auto manufacturer in Haryana. While looking around them, Gun-ho asked questions like the lease price of their premises and their average sales revenue. Every place they visited was furnished with pamphlets, and many of them collected the pamphlets while Gun-Ho gave up on picking them up since they were heavy to carry around.

"Sir, you are not taking the pamphlets?"

"It's okay. I'm good without them."

The vendor companies in India were at various levels from the second vendor to the fourth vendor. Gun-Ho thought that the workers in a small company seemed to be working without enough support there.

On the second day, Gun-Ho woke up very early; it was strange. He walked out of the hotel to go jogging.

"I'm so jealous of their street trees. They are indeed huge. The circumference of one tree here looks ten times thicker than trees in Korea."

Gun-Ho passed the trees and went into a village where lots of houses were standing. The path to the village and inside the village was paved with asphalt, but a very different scene was unfolded in front of Gun-Ho. There was a giant-sized dog that was as big as a calf that was lying on the street. A little girl, who wore neither a skirt nor pants, was urinating in the middle of the street. Gun-Ho didn't go further into the village. He decided to just go back to the hotel. There were a lot of feces scattered on the street. Gun-Ho was not sure if there were humans' or dogs' or cows'.

"I could well step on those feces if I go further."

The world inside the hotel and outside the hotel was two very different worlds.