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Rediff.com  » Business » Hero eyes English classes in China

Hero eyes English classes in China

October 04, 2003 08:53 IST

Hero Corporate Services Ltd of the Munjal group is planning to help the Chinese understand the lingua franca of investors who are swamping their country.

Sunil Kant Munjal, the managing director and CEO of the company, which operates call centres and training and education division under the Hero Mindmine brand name, says he is investigating the Chinese market for an opportunity in the business of English teaching.

"There is no doubt we will enter China in a few years. But we have not taken a decision as yet," he says.

Munjal, who is also a top Confederation of Indian Industry functionary, has travelled to China frequently in the past few months as the two neighbouring countries put in efforts to bridge their political differences and open up their huge markets to each other.

But while other businessmen discussed opportunities in the steel, pharmaceutical, chemicals, electronics and software industries, Munjal came back home with the idea that his company could set up centres in China to coach its people in English.

"If there was one thing that India can boast of being better at than the Chinese -- in its bid to become the most attractive destination to foreign investors -- it is the ability of its educated class to read, write and speak good English.

"It may not be a bad idea to use our strengths in the language to set up a similar model of business in a potentially huge market like China," says a source in the Munjal family.

After all, the Chinese are already changing their names to the more popular and familiar English names, lest the western investors gave up on the language, he adds.

Munjal is tightlipped about his immediate plans. "All I can tell you is that at the moment we are focussed on growing in the Indian business. But, of course, we have plans to expand our business in other countries, including China," he said.

The company's division 'Hero MindMine' is a training and education division that will provide technology-based learning solutions across a spectrum of domains.

There are two other divisions in Hero Corporate Services, Hero Tech Touch (to address B2B application software), and Hero Serve IT (customer relationship management and IT-enabled services).

The source added that the Munjals are also considering if it can help Chinese companies set up call centres using their expertise.

"One of the areas where English will help the Chinese is IT education. In such a scenario, there maybe a demand for IT-enabled services in the country as well," the source said.

Hero is planning to set up a chain of around 100 Hero MindMine learning centres, which will be a combination of company-owned and franchised operations, across the country.

The company has also developed on-line modules of the MindMine and plans to launch in the next phase.

With its learning programmes designed to address individuals as well as sponsored corporate candidates, Hero MindMine is imparting training to over 100,000 persons already.
BS Corporate Bureau in New Delhi