How to do business in India

India has a rapidly developing economy and therefore offers substantial opportunities for your business to expand its activities and profitability. This guide will outline how to do business in India and look at:

  • Why you should look at India
  • Risks
  • Getting started

Why you should look at India

Trade between Europe and India has greatly increased in the last few years. It is a growing economy and with a population of over 1 billion people is one of huge potential for your business. There are opportunities in a wide range of sectors including construction services because of the demand for infrastructure, telecommunications equipment, IT, health equipment, pharmaceuticals and call centres. The number of middle-market consumers is also increasing and labour is cheap. Indian businesses are organised in a similar way to those in the UK and English is the main business language used. The Government is keen for more trade liberalisation and economic reforms and the economy is predicted to become the third largest one in the world by 2030.

  • India can help you improve your global competitiveness and sell more products
  • Demand for infrastructure, telecommunications equipment, IT, health equipment, pharmaceuticals and call centres
  • Labour is cheap, middle market growing , English main business language


India is ethnically diverse with different languages and religions so you need to ensure your strategy can deal with this variety. You have to ask yourself whether your product will work in India. Can it stand the heat and humidity for example. Winning business in India is a long process and you have to invest time in building up long-term relationships. It is still a very bureaucratic country. Exports to India are subject to duties and if you have an Indian office the tax position is a complex one. Skilled manpower is growing but there is a severe skills shortage and competition for labour is fierce. Your transport needs to be multi-modal using airfreight or shipping to an Indian port and then using road transport.

  • It is essential to get your transport and logistics right
  • Is your product right for the social mix of India and its environment?

Getting started

You have to assess which region will need your product/service most. It is important that you make the right connections, meet the right people and develop long-term relationships with Indian business.¬† It’s a good idea to start networking at Indian trade fairs or after organising a trade visit. Talk to UK Trade & Investment who can offer a range of support and will put you in touch with your local trade advisor. Visit their section on trading in India for a wealth of practical information. Think of using a local agent, joint ventures or setting up your own office. Take legal advice on this and the regulations that may apply to your product/service.

  • Indian Trade Fairs are a good place to network and meet contacts
  • Consider¬† joint ventures or setting up your own office
Countries: India
Topics: Getting Started
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