India vs. China
When I was in China earlier this year, an official charged with attracting tech investment explained that India's democratic system led to underinvestment in infrastructure, while China's more centralized approach gave it the ability to move incredibly rapidly in creating whatever infrastructure would be best for the country's goals -- in this case, attracting foreign companies. Keep that in mind when you read this stat:
India spends 6.5 percent of its gross domestic product on infrastructure, vs. 11 percent in China.
On July 14 passengers on international flights to and from New Delhi will no longer walk through the overcrowded building that has been the capital's gateway to the world for 24 years. Instead, they will enter a terminal designed by London architects HOK International that is encased in sheets of glass etched with images of Indian dancers. With 78 gates, 97 automated walkways, 95 immigration counters, 215,000 square feet of retail space, and parking for 4,300 cars, the building is comparable to the modern aviation hubs of Hong Kong, Singapore, and Dubai. "For the first time, we will have a world-class hub," says Binit Somaia, Sydney-based director for South Asia at the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA).
The terminal, which with other renovations cost $2.2 billion, is a sign that India may be turning the corner on solving one of its most intractable problems: a notoriously poor infrastructure. The terminal took only 37 months to build. That's faster than the 45 months China spent to complete the terminal in Beijing that opened in time for the 2008 Olympics.
July 6, 2010; 9:02 AM ET
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