When you ask anyone who’s been to India, they will say its a myriad of experiences rolled into one – captivating, breathtaking, mind opening ! A land of contrasts where the black and white has mixed into a billion shades of grey making it hard to judge good from evil; poor from rich; city from villages; educated from illiterate, and so on.
From a business perspective, it is one of the strongest economies of the world, and definitely the one that defines Asia along with China. The biggest commonality is that every person in India has an entrepreneurial mindset where opportunities are made, not found or given. Every person is a survivor and they need to keep pushing to be ahead, or else they will be left behind. With millions willing to sacrifice to get ahead, labour is cheap and readily available.
Business here is done on a face value basis, which can be mostly rewarding but sometimes exploited. It is a land of ‘jugaad’ (hindi term meaning making ends meet or making things work). And this is what I find the most powerful aspect of India.
Despite all the barriers to success, this country has been leading the world in reshaping business models, strategies and execution. The digital revolution has indeed started here, and in the next 5 years, some of the biggest online brands will come from here. Amazon is in, Facebook is in, LinkedIn is in, and everyone else is lining up to invest billions.
Land and property is at a premium, and every brand sold around the world have set up shop here to sell their products to the masses at a premium, with most people paying in cash. India is one of the most cashed up countries in the world, with many people choosing to hold cash than invest in bank or financial institutions. They have invested this in undisclosed assets that are held under family trusts or such arrangements in villages and towns.
What does this mean for Indians living abroad or people from around the world who are looking for the next economic superpower to invest in?
India is now at the forefront of digital shift and the reasons are few but critical when compared to countries like China, Brazil, Russia, and so on.
1. India’s population is young with more than half the population under 20 years of age. Japan, USA, UK, Australia, NZ all have an aging population.
2. India’s education is robust and English savvy. Being part of the Commonwealth gives it even greater leverage as language is an enabler.
3. India’s resources are expansive with unlimited labour and materials at its disposal given its position on the globe, its natural resources and its massive land mass.
4. India’s reach across the globe is wide as there are Indians living in every country of the world, and will supply the next generation of workers for developed countries in the coming decades.
5. India’s business leaders are leading the biggest companies in the world namely, Google, PepsiCo, Microsoft , SunMicro and so on. This sets a strong precedent for other future corporations to follow who will want to emulate the skill set and leadership.
6. India’s own economy is strengthening and evolving, which offers unlimited potential for developed processes and systems to be implemented and introduced to India, especially in the rural sector.
7. India’s outsourcing models means companies like Cognizant, Genpact, Accenture, Wipro and many others are setting benchmark standards utilized by leading banking, financial and technology companies. This is another strong endorsement of the skill and capacity set of India to service the world.
8. India’s play within the BRIICS and its alliance with China and Russia sets its apart as it’s seen as a country that is ready to partner and co-exist with other economic giants, who see it as a friend rather than a foe.
9. India’s democratic stability when compared to the political scenarios of its neighbours both in the Middle East or South East Asia. The only threat being that of sectarian violence or terrorism but its mainly under control within the region.
10. The last but not the least, is the military power of India to protect its land and having Nuclear and Inter-stellar capabilities means it’s capable to defend itself, but also develop technology and weaponry to match its counterparts.
So, if you’re travelling into Asia then I would invite you to consider visiting India not just for its tourism but its position as being the land of opportunity in the years to come. You can do this through connecting with the Indians you know or work with, or through Business Chambers or Associations, or through common groups in the field you operate in, and generally through LinkedIn.
I’d be happy to connect you to people, if you require and will lead a delegation of business leaders from Australia and New Zealand in 2016, for a planned visit to India to look for business partners and collaborators.