Trade and investment officers based in embassies and consulates-general bring you the big news from their markets
GOING FOR GROWTH
India is one of the fastest-growing economies in the world. It has a rapidly expanding consumer base – more than half the population is under 25 – and economic growth for 2011 is forecast at seven per cent. UK exports to India total nearly £6bn annually. The UK has strong ties with India and British companies are well positioned to take advantage of this market. It can be a challenging business environment, but the rewards are potentially huge. UK Trade & Investment has a presence in nine Indian cities, identified on the map (right), and can help companies identify opportunities in key sectors, some of which are outlined below, where UK expertise matches Indian demand.
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RETAIL AND LOGISTICS
India’s supply chain infrastructure needs to be built from the ground up. Almost 40 per cent of agricultural produce is lost in transit. This discrepancy, coupled with growing demand for processed and convenience food, means that cold storage and distribution centres are an urgent requirement. Other important areas are packaging, processing, branding and safe storage and transportation of retail goods and services.
One of the government’s priorities is to eliminate inefficiencies in the supply chain that could affect the profitability of retailers. The UK is advanced in this area with a strong network of supply chain solution providers.
Market access issues still remain for some retailers with a bar on UK multibrand retail operations. However, there are signs that this issue may be resolved in time, opening up the market for further overseas investment.
Engineering and manufacturing are both earmarked for expansion. India wants to increase its percentage of GDP from 18 to 30 per cent over the next 20 years, creating 50m additional jobs in the sector. Industry is under pressure to become more competitive, to acquire new technologies and to develop products to meet the country’s needs. The automotive, aerospace and plastics sectors have led the development of manufacturing in India over the last 40 years. Initially, many of these corporations were state owned, but are now increasingly run by private investors, often from wealthy Indian families.
EDUCATION AND SKILLS
With a population of one billion, an economy forecast to become the world’s fourth-largest by 2020 and a culture that places great importance on learning, India offers substantial potential for both educational supplies and skills training companies. There is also a huge demand for vocational skills provision.
The UK has an internationally recognised competitive advantage in this area. It is home to an array of excellent higher and further education colleges and institutions, many with the ability and experience to operate internationally. The shared history, language and culture mean that the UK is regarded as a partner of choice to drive forward the skills agenda.
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