Yash Gupta, Senior Managing Director & Country Head Hines India
In the 90’s I ran my family’s business, Doorvani Cables – manufacturer of telecommunication ancillaries. Later I spent 12 years working and studying in the United States. I completed Masters in Business Administration from Harvard Business School, Boston and a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Management from Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh. I was a consultant with McKinsey & Company in New York (and New Delhi) for five years and Pricewaterhouse Coopers in Chicago for two years. Prior to Hines, I served as the CEO of Silverglades, a mid-sized Indian real estate developer.
As someone who loves to take up challenges, I decided early on that he wanted to make a difference in Indian real estate, one building at a time. In fact, when I was preparing to head a new India office for Houston-based Hines, Gerald Hines, legendary real estate developer told me, “I don’t want any home runs yet. If you swing for the fences you’ll end up making mistakes.”
Often the first question asked by the Western audience is, Why India? I remember Fareed Zakria once quoted at a Hines’ conference a few years ago, “Even a small percentage of a very large number is still a large number.” This is the promise of India.
According to a report by Deloitte, India will have the largest consumer base by 2030 with middle-class spending reaching $12.8 trillion a year, overtaking China ($10 trillion) and the United States ($4 trillion). The future upside for businesses in India that cater effectively and efficiently to this consumer base is unparalleled.”
The Indian economy’s growth is being driven by the services sector, unconstrained by access to capital, regulatory shackles and legacy conglomerates. In real estate, the balance is shifting towards the large middle-class consumer base, which is becoming increasingly affluent often working in the services sector. The opportunity therefore is to understand this paradigm shift and build or capitalize real estate companies that cater to this rapidly growing demographic. These hard working professionals want to deal with companies that have a similar value system – ethical, transparent, competent – given that they often use their life’s savings (and high borrowings) to buy their first home.
Hines came to India to build an honest, professional and customer-centric real estate investment, development and management franchise. Its experience in other emerging markets such as China, Brazil, Russia, etc., sensitized it to the importance of execution in emerging markets.
We focused on building a team that emphasized disciplined execution, customer centricity and transparent processes to decrease the risks of our investments. By moving cautiously, Hines has two completed projects in India. Hines was fortunate to forge partnerships with market leaders that helped the company scale the learning curve and avoid common pitfalls.
We are excited that the buildings we have developed have been recognized as some of the most premium addresses in India. We are appreciative that our focus on innovative technologies, superior building materials, clean air, improved energy efficiency and differentiated customer experience has been patronized by marquee domestic and international tenants and awarded by the industry.
Going forward, we intend to continuously learn, adapt, innovate and import best execution practices from around the globe to create value for our customers, investors and employees. This for me is the key to unlocking value in India.
In addition to participation on several company boards, I am the South Asia chair for the YPO/WPO Real Estate Network, a founding member HBS Real Estate Alumni Association and board member HBS Alumni Club of India.