Multinationals in deregulating industries often need to be flexible and patient during the natural process of regulatory evolution. Regulations governing the mobile-telephony sector, for example, have been amended several times since 1994 as it has grown; it had two licensed operators per region back then and now has as many as six. Although most multinationals left the sector when the regulations governing it changed, Hutchison Whampoa continued to invest in India. Ten years later, Hutchison Essar is one of the top three telcos in the country (as reckoned by market share), and interviews with industry experts suggest that the company enjoys strong profitability.
Arun Natarajan is the Editor of TSJ Media, which tracks venture capital activity in India and Indian-founded companies worldwide. View sample issues of TSJ Media's Venture Intelligence India newsletters and reports.