With the Indian economy predicted to become the third largest in the world by 2035, David Chapman, Midlands senior partner for international accountant and business advisors Mazars, assesses the opportunities available to Midland firms.
There is no doubt that India is fast becoming one of the most influential markets in the world. I have recently visited the region as part of an ongoing programme to develop partnerships in the country and saw how opportunities were developing.
Many Western professional firms are looking to develop their presence in the region, not only to service Western clients investing in the country, but also to support those high-growth Indian firms looking to extend their influence beyond traditional borders – something I expect to see more of as the market develops. But setting up a business overseas presents its challenges.
After my latest visit to India I was amazed by the speed in which the market had grown since my last trip only a few months earlier. The growth rate is more than double that of mainland Europe. The amount of activity going on is quite incredible. We all know about Tata but that is just the tip of the iceberg.
At Mazars we have been developing relationships with our Indian partners since 2006, but it’s a process that needs plenty of planning to ensure the right results are achieved. With many businesses thinking about doing something similar, it’s vital for them to be aware that it’s not always plain sailing.
As well as the obvious cultural differences, other hurdles to overcome include the talent war, which escalates as economic growth in India continues to accelerate. As well as creating issues around building a quality team at the rate required, it also puts pressure on the infrastructure of the business. So companies need to ensure adequate support is in place to develop departments such as marketing, HR and IT, and therefore create solid foundations on which to grow.
While it is essential to employ a local workforce in order to fully understand the workings of a country, it is also important to use the skills of your existing employees if you want to infuse your overseas operation with a culture and quality standard that matches your UK profile.
Possible ways of doing this include sending UK employees overseas to develop the new venture and making them responsible for training or establishing other key parts of the business.
At Mazars, this approach has already paid dividends with a secondment scheme in place allowing our overseas employees to benefit from spending time working in the UK and vice versa.
As a large country with a lot of emerging opportunities, now is an exciting time to be doing business in India, with many of the Indian companies going global.