Expanding to India: how to "zig" your business plan as the local economy "zags".

Author:Nayak, Mahesh K.
Position:HOW DO I

Reading accounts of the slowing economy and national recession day after day, it is easy to become discouraged about the prospects for local business in the year or two to come. However, there is also an opportunity to recognize that while business prospects may seem dismal, it can be a matter of perspective and knowing where to look. While all indications are that the national economy is slowing, there are abundant opportunities to capitalize abroad.


The global economy is not immune from the flu, and the United States is still recovering. However, foreign countries like India present significant business opportunities. Consider the business case. India is the world's largest democracy and already has a middle class consumer base rivaling the United States. CEOs of Detroit's Big 3 have acknowledged that a majority of automobile sales in the next ten years will be in Asia. One hundred of the Fortune 500 have R&D facilities in India. The Indian economy has thrived in the last decade at a healthy eight percent growth, and the markets have been bullish. The country has a highly educated middle class populus exceeding 300 million people and India's populus makes up 33 percent of the world's online population. English is the language of business.

If your business is automotive related or focused on IT, healthcare, e-commerce, pharmaceuticals, construction, architectural design, finance, telecommunications or real estate speculation, opportunities in India abound. Comparatively lower labor costs, combined with tax incentives and a consumer-hungry middle class whose appetite remains voracious make India something to consider as you contemplate how to "zig" your business plan as the local economy "zags." Since the Big 3 are already in India, it will be the forward-thinking supplier here that will act ahead of the curve so they can continue to grow with them there.

However, as when entering any foreign market, you need to educate yourself well in advance of the challenges of going abroad. Here are just some of the considerations you might keep in mind:

Remember what Tip O'Neill said: "All politics is local."

Recognizing the differences between the legal systems and cultures, start with trusted professionals in your own backyard to effectively carry out your directives in India. The value of the local professional is accountability to you, here and now. Make sure your local professional has tics with trusted counterparts in...

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