Industrial Technology - Linked-in Industrial Technology - Twitter Industrial Technology - News Feed
Latest Issue

A passage to India

Trade with India has come a long way in the past 20 years. Before I joined UKTI eight years ago I ran an SME in telecommunications and first visited the country in the early 1980s. Back then it was a closed economy and there was practically nothing but barriers to trade. It's only really been since 1990 that the economy has opened to any extent and these barriers have been lifted: The easing of exchange control was an obvious positive influence on international trade and reductions in trade tarifs across a whole range of goods and services has continued the trend.

Even now loosening restrictions in providing professional services, such as in finance and insurance, and the ongoing liberarilisation moves in multi-brand retail and further education reform, and perhaps even ultimately legal services reform, continue to help UK businesses flourish. India is a huge country with huge opportunities right across the piste - from infrastructure to healthcare; from education to aerospace. India is a country with high aspirations, a growing domestic economy and an emerging middle-class with a taste for foreign products.

To help firms tap into these opportunities I will be leading the largest ever group of British firms to Mumbai and Chennai this October as part of the India Marketing Strategy Scholarship Programme. The week long scholarship introduces people into the India mind-set - it's vital to understand the cultural feel and get used to the sights and sounds- alongside the business aspects.

Without being too stereotypical about India, people do need to expect the unexpected. Arriving in India is an assault on the senses. It's a vast country and a land of contradictions: extreme opulence and dire poverty exist within a couple of blocks of each other. Preparation and planning can make a key difference to the way you feel when you first land in Mumbai. So if you have done lots of research and homework to develop a good perception of the market, it can help ease the culture shock a little.
Visiting India is a vital element to helping firms appreciate the scale of the market and get a sense of perspective of the opportunities out there. Even travelling across Mumbai can take hours.

Attendees on the scholarship programme benefit from the expertise of fellow delegates and speakers. UK expertise and Indian business acumen, combined with market knowledge brings together mutual benefit. We give attendees genuine experience of doing business in India, with workshops which provide practical negotiations between UK firms and Indian firms. It really throws firms in at the deep end.

Any company doing business in India, or preparing to, can benefit from the scholarship. In a sense the companies that are already entrenched in India should not be overlooking opportunities to heighten their understanding of the business culture - and if you are new to business in India it's vital you join the programme.
One business person who attended last year was Adrian Hartley, MD of sealant specialists HS Butyl. He said the trip helped them sign a joint venture in Chennai. And while we can't promise meeting Boris Johnson or networking with English cricketers this year, which were a part of last year's highlights, the scholarship will provide prestigious networking opportunities.

India is a land of opportunity. It's the second fastest growing economy in the world. If you want a piece of the action speak to UK Trade & Investment. UKTI London's scholarship programme takes place from 21 to 25 October.
Download pdf

Latest news about Machine Building

Additional Information
Text styles