ASIAdocument.write(“” + m[today.getMonth()+1]+ ” “+ today.getDate()+”, ” + theYear + ” “);HOMECHINAWORLDBUSINESSLIFESTYLECULTURETRAVELSPORTSOPINIONREGIONALFORUMNEWSPAPERChina Daily PDFChina Daily E-paperChina Daily Global PDFChina Daily Global E-paperBusiness /EconomyEconomyPolicy WatchChina DataCompaniesMarketsIndustriesViewMotoringTechGreen ChinaFull throttle aheadBy Krishna Kumar Vr in New Delhi(China Daily)Updated:2014-09-29 06:57Comments Print Mail Large Medium SmallBillionaire entrepreneur believes diversification can unlock new avenues for sustained, long-term growthDuring his teens, Anand Mahindras consuming passion for filmmaking took him to Harvard in the early 1970s to major in film on a full scholarship. He graduated from the esteemed US institution in 1977 with high honors.SONG CHEN/CHINA DAILYBut he never became a moviemaker. Instead, he turned out to be a globally respected businessman. Today, he heads a $16.5 billion multinational group, Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M), which has more than 180,000 employees in over 100 countries across the globe.”I still have an abiding passion for watching good cinema. I have also invested personally in a film production company,” says Mahindra, chairman and managing director of M&M.His media and entertainment company, Mumbai Mantra Media, has committed to provide a platform for independent voices in world cinema and the emerging generation of filmmakers. The company has established a global filmmaking award and a screenwriters lab in India, the Mahindra Global Filmmaking Award.Mahindras commitment toward society goes beyond the silver screen, and he is modest about his achievements. He describes himself as an “accidental entrepreneur” who simply joined the family business rather than starting up his own company.After securing a management degree from Harvard Business School in 1981, he returned to India and joined the Mahindra Ugine Steel Company, a subsidiary of the M&M Group listed on Bombay Stock Exchange, as an executive assistant to the finance director.After eight years of working in his grandfathers business, in 1989 he was appointed president and deputy managing director of the company. During his time at MUSCO, he initiated the groups diversification into the new business areas of real estate development and hospitality management. In 1991 he was brought from MUSCO and appointed as deputy managing director of M&M.Initially, he had a tough time in the office. Striking workers from a factory in Mumbai had even surrounded him in his plant at one point when Mahindra, then 36, had said that there would be no bonus unless workers stepped up productivity. His ordeal only lasted for a few hours, however, until the workers calmed down.Subsequently, he initiated a comprehensive change program in the company to turn it into an efficient and aggressive competitor in the new liberalized economic environment in India. Now, M&M is present across the entire automotive spectrum – two-wheelers, commercial vehicles, SUVs and sedans.In addition, the group has diversified into a wide range of other sectors, including aerospace, agribusiness, energy, farm equipment, finance, information technology, hospitality, logistics, real estate and retail.”Because of our long-term view, we have never shied away from making investments, even during down cycles,” Mahindra says. “For instance, we invested in a world-class automotive manufacturing plant when the economy wasnt in the best of health. This long-term focus has helped us tide over the rough times. It also helps us to diversify.”His leadership also took the company to foreign markets, including China.In 2005, M&M formed its first Indo-Chinese joint venture with Jiangling Motors, one of Chinas biggest commercial vehicle manufacturers.”China is one of the largest tractor markets in the world,” he says. “We see China as our second home market and we are working towards creating our biggest tractor base in the country.”The venture, Mahindra (China) Tractor Company, helped M&M create a global footprint, opening export avenues to support its US operations. 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