On the Map: Emerging Markets and Existing Superpower

On the Map: Emerging Markets and Existing Superpower

Aparna Sharma

As Managing Director of DK India (part of the Penguin Random House Group), Aparna leads a 300+ team of editors, art editors, DTP personnel, cartographers, new media editors and programmers. It's a challenging but hugely satisfying role, and she loves it!
March 26, 2015

Bertelsmann held their first Emerging Markets Conference earlier this year in Delhi, giving me the chance to understand in more detail the various activities of our diverse company, especially its interests in India, China, and Brazil. Hugely relevant for me, just as I've started exploring the possibilities DK's content gives us in India.

Bertelsmann's Shobha Mohn (EVP, Emerging Markets) and Thomas Rabe (Chairman and CEO) share a light moment
Bertelsmann's Shobha Mohn (EVP, Emerging Markets) and Thomas Rabe (Chairman and CEO)

With India playing host, there were industry presentations from two new and already successful Indian companies that Bertelsmann have invested in – Saavn and Pepperfry, and a third one they're exploring, Mu sigma. What fascinated me was how very different the businesses are – music, furniture, and big data – but they do have some key common traits, which make them interesting to a company like Bertelsmann. Set up by a new breed of entrepreneurs who are bright, confident, and tech savvy, they were mostly Indians who'd spent some amount of time in different parts of the world, and understand what the world is interested in, and how to get this to them. They all see the huge potential India offers not only as a market, but also as a source of entrepreneurial innovation.

Parag Khanna presenting to a rapt audience
Parag Khanna presenting to a rapt audience

Ahead of all this though, came the opening speaker, Parag Khanna, a Geopolitics expert and global futurist. He spoke really well on a subject that has begun to fascinate me lately – the study of how your position on the map impacts economic, cultural, and political developments. Parag spoke a great deal on the growing influence of China, India, and other Asian nations, which was reassuring, considering our mission! Check out some of his TED talks if you're interested.

I've recently been recommended another big name on the subject, Peter Zeihan, who's written a book called Preeminence and the Coming The Accidental Superpower: The Next Generation of American Global Disorder. This book says USA's geography will ensure it continues to be the sole superpower for much longer than we think. Now that puts it firmly back on the map, as it were. Such interesting times!

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