Five reasons why you should invest in your presence in India

July 20, 2016
Keith Warburton
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Lots of British and US companies who are heavily committed to China seem reluctant to develop a significant presence in India for some reason. They cite a number of obstacles to market entry in India such as IP risks, corruption, bureaucracy, the size of the country and even language barriers – forgetting that China also poses all of those dilemmas in equal measure!

India is no more difficult a market to crack than any other emerging market – we know that because we have helped numerous western companies enter India and make a success of their business there. Of course, it is important that you approach the country in the right way, do your preparation and select the right partners – but if you know the right things and have a good product, the chances are you’ll be successful.

Here are 5 simple reasons to look at investing in India:

1. Political stability.
For the first time in a generation, the country has a stable government with a viable working majority. India has been politically paralysed for decades and that has undoubtedly hindered its progress but Narendra Modi’s government now has the mandate and the appetite to force through changes – changes which include dramatically improving governance procedures.

2. Demographics.
Unlike China, India has a very positive demographic profile. Of its 1.3 billion people, 50 % of them are under the age of 25 and 65% are under the age of 35. Think of the number of new consumers entering the Indian market place over the next 5 – 10 years. The next decade will see more new consumers coming into the Indian market place than in any other country in the history of the world.

3. Poor infrastructure.
Paradoxically, the famously parlous state of India’s creaking infrastructure says just one thing – opportunity. India needs everything. It needs roads, railway upgrades, airports, utility networks of all kinds, hospitals, schools, universities, ports…..The list is endless and cross-sector. India probably needs the goods or services you provide and it probably needs a lot of them.

4. Highly educated population.
Granted this is a mixed picture. Not all Indians – by a long way – are IT graduates from prestigious Technical Colleges but many of them are. Many clients think that they won’t be able to recruit people who ‘get’ their offering. The truth is that they will almost certainly be able to recruit very skilled, ambitious, hard-working, enthusiastic employees who can help their business thrive.

5. Energy.

Everybody who comes back from India is just blown away by the energy and vibrancy of the place. Everybody is on the move. Everybody is looking to go places, improve their lot and help the country to grow. It’s an amazing country that believes in its own future.

I’m not saying that developing a business in India can be done overnight or that there will not be obstacles along the way. But with a good strategic plan, some commitment to investing in growth, the right partners and excellent people on the ground wearing your shirt, India could be transformative for your business.

I heard a fascinating comment made by a senior Indian banker last year. He said that people who invest in their presence in India now will reap exponential rewards in comparison to those who sit on their hands and wait to see what happens. I am convinced he is absolutely correct about that.