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Asia's best companies 2003: India dethrones Hong Kong for top spot

A growth rate rivalling China's has thrown up compelling corporate stories from India. Analysts polled by Euromoney favoured its companies for their investor-friendly qualities Kathryn Tully reports; research by Andrew Newby, Paul Pedzinski and David Skalinder.

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LAST YEAR, OUR survey of Asian corporates revealed that analysts were more impressed by Hong Kong companies than any others. The region's economic problems in 2002 didn't stop it taking five number-one rankings. This year's survey was very different: Indian companies came top in 10 of the general and sector categories.

A wide range of different views were expressed in our survey of 136 Asian analysts. This meant that some of the scores by winning companies were quite low. However, not only have Indian companies taken 10 of the categories this year, their lead over everyone else is compelling. Hong Kong, Singaporean, Malaysian and Chinese companies have all taken four categories apiece, but India is the favourite of analysts in Asia by some margin.

One Indian company, IT services and consulting firm Infosys Technologies, stands out. It is perceived as the company with the most convincing strategy, most transparency, most accessible management and best treatment of minority shareholders. It was also voted the best IT/software house and the best Indian corporate.

"Infosys has been following a smart business model focusing on predictability, sustainability, profitability and de-risking.

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