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Starting a Business in India

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Starting a Business in India

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Why Start a Business in India?

India does unusual things to the Western mind. Everyone has something to say about it. It's one of those got-to-visit places where students and bohemians go to become enlightened, transformed and reborn. You will have been told countless itineraries and recommendations, shown photographs, heard the anecdotes, and you would be forgiven for thinking you have already experienced the crippling poverty, transcendental temples and gastronomic authenticity of its street vendors. Actually, you will have done everything there is to do in India except actually visit it.

Yet the one thing that doesn't get reported back with the same insufferable touristy gusto is that other, less-known side to the country. Not its history and heritage, but its present and future.

To say India's economy has been reincarnated - risen to a new level of evolution and existence - would be an understatement. Its status as one of the fastest advancing economies is reciprocated by a fast-growing consumer class. And the consumer classes make the material world go round. The Hindu wheel of virtue has finally turned in India's favour, and if we're talking cyclicality, India is predicted to be the third largest economy in the world by 2050, which is quite the karmic turnaround.

India, although strict, is a democracy that generally follows the ideology left behind by the Brits after their hundred-year holiday there. But we won't kid ourselves, the Indian government might class itself as a fantastically alliterative sovereign socialist secular democratic republic, but things aren't that unequivocal. However, they are also not blurred enough to adversely affect its business, commerce, market and, more importantly, foreign investment. In fact, when it comes to direct investment, India is one of the largest recipients, with a colossal four billion each year. Trade barriers have been lifted, tariff rates are down and quantitative restrictions on imports have ceased. Yet, India's foreign investment potential still remains strangely unfulfilled.

Thus, there lies immeasurable opportunity for UK investors, particularly in the sectors of construction, media, education, engineering, the environment, healthcare, power and transport. People always talk about special relationships and strong ties between countries, and in the instance of India and the UK there couldn't be a better epithet. We are historically entwined and have shared, adopted, traded and welcomed facets of each others culture and personality.

If you fancy joining the karmic quest toward 2050, setting up a business in India now could be the best move you ever make. Read on to see what the wheel of virtue will spin for you.

Guide To Living And Working In India

What currency will I be using in India?

India's currency is the Rupee, written INR or Rs for short.

What opportunities does India have to offer?

Part of what economists are calling BRIC (Brazil Russia India China), India is now enjoying an emerging market status. This provides a positive boost not only for the economy but for ground level workers; there is a sense of pride because India is keeping up with the rest of the world.

The main area for growth and opportunity is the internet. E-commerce, help desking, multimedia, software development, and most recently Wi-Fi network installation have all proven fruitful in India, and the country boasts a high digital skill range. Many dealers have capitalised on the lack of geographical boundaries that the internet brings by selling India-specific goods online. There are moral implications, and some say that India is getting more like the United States every day.

What's the climate like in India?

The climate is terrain-driven in India, and therefore it varies between regions. The north is moderately cold in winter (January to March), due to the Himalayas, which act as a powerful barrier against the katabatic winds coming from Central Asia. For the same reason North India can be extremely hot in summer; remaining moderate in temperature in the other seasons. The very south of India is called the Deccan Plateau (from the Sanskrit dakshina meaning 'south'), and takes in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Its climate is one of tropical monsoon, and rainfall brought in from the sea by monsoon winds can last up to three months. Monsoonal rain is seasonal but heavy. Eastern India experiences the Bay of Bengal monsoon, and so the weather behaves in much the same way. Western India is largely arid desert; but the whole country is categorised as tropical.

Seasons in India run as follows:

Monsoon season, June-September - slowly sweeps across and up the country, ending in North India at the start of October

Post-Monsoon, October-December - Northwest India becomes cloudless in October and November

Winter, January to March - In January average temperatures are around 10-15 degrees C in the North; 20-25 in the South

Summer, March-July - in northern regions May is the hottest month; in southern and western India April is hottest. Average temperatures are 32-40 degrees C

What's the population?

The population of India is 1.291 billion

Economic Overview

What are the main industries in India?

Agriculture and textiles are the principle industries in India. Agriculture tallies as employment for about two thirds of the population - and with India representing 15% of the world's humans (second densest after China) it is a dominant industry. Textiles appear in the job title of around twenty million Indians. Indian industry production includes: aircraft, ships, cars, locomotives, heavy electrical machinery, construction equipment, power generation and transmission equipment, chemicals, precision instruments, communication equipment and computers.

The steel industry is one of the biggest key industries of India, and is over 120 years old. Bhilai, Durgapur and Rourkela are all major public sector steel-producing areas. There are also plants at Bokaro and Vishakhapatanam. Private sector plants, of which the Tata Iron and Steel Company (TISCO) is the biggest, have been allowed to raise their capacity. A modernisation scheme is underway, instigated by the Steel Authority of India (SAIL), which controls the public sector plants. Other major industries include engineering and machine tools, electronics, textiles and IT and software, which is globally recognised as a 'thrust industry' benefiting India exponentially in recent years. Tourism, too, is booming in India.

How does India's economy compare to the rest of the world?

One profession that India produces in abundance is economists. Therefore whatever the state of India's economy, there will always be consultation services enough to predict and preserve. Some experts believe that although the country's emerging economy is a good thing, too much of an opening may raise the rupee's power while devaluing its exports. Many also think that India has the potential to shoulder up to the world's most powerful economies, stunted only by illogical economic moves, such as pushing heavy engineering, chemicals and petrochemicals businesses, rather than the industries more reliant on unskilled labour, which India has a lot of.

India's GDP is around a trillion US dollars at the time of writing. It is the twelfth largest economy in the world.

What and how does India export?

Textiles accounts for a third of the country's exported goods. Produce required for power projects, fertilizer, cement, steel, petrochemical plants and mining equipment are exported from India. The country also builds and exports construction machinery, irrigation equipment, transport vehicles, diesel engines, and tractors. Software is a big export. In a way, the outsourcing of contact centre labour could be considered an export, and of course tea. Also exported, mainly to the west, are scholars and medical staff.

India's main trade partners are USA, China, UK, Belgium, Hong Kong, Germany, and Singapore.

What's the unemployment situation in India?

Unemployment is at 7 %.

What's the national minimum wage in India?

The National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme stipulates that the minimum wage in India is Rs 60 per day ($1.50). 260 million are below the poverty line.

Who invests?

Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) enjoy exclusive incentives to invest in India like tax exemption and higher interest rates on deposits.

The number of shareholders in your new company is restricted to fifty, if it is a private limited company.

These titles are available for foreign investors/foreign companies doing business in India:

  • Liaison Office
  • Representative Office
  • Project Office
  • Branch Office
  • Wholly owned Subsidiary Company
  • Joint Venture Company

Etiquette

Business culture in India assumes a mixed presence, a blend of national and international values, but the main business language is English. Indians generally expect to be referred to by their designation (Dr., Professor, etc.) if they have one. They are a race globally recognised for their politeness, and this is emphasised in the Indian practice of business.

The main religions in India are: Hindu 81.3%; Muslim 12%; Christian 2.3%; Sikh 1.9%; and other groups including Buddhist, Jain, Parsi - totalling 2.5%.

Click here to Ask an Expert about Starting a Business in India

Organisations that can assist with Starting a Business

  • > Kompass (UK) Ltd

    If you are looking to start up or expand a business overseas then you will need a targeted and reliable data list to find new customers in your new market.

    More Details Visit Website
  • > B2B International

    B2B International is a global market research agency that specialises in b2b markets. With experience in every industry sector and country imaginable, we are well placed to help you establish your business overseas.

    More Details Visit Website
  • > TMF Group

    TMF Group helps companies expand and invest seamlessly across international borders.

    More Details Visit Website
  • > Global Training Partners

    GTP cross cultural trainings and intercultural workshops help global companies in improving their communication, efficiency and profitability when doing business across cultures.

    More Details Visit Website
  • > Radius

    Your Global Growth Experts. Radius helps businesses move into new markets, manage overseas operations or outsource entire global accounting and administration functions

    More Details Visit Website
  • > Scotts Business Travel

    Scotts Business Travel is a trading name of Scotts Travel Management Ltd. Founded in 1991 and trading as Scotts Tours, the company originally offered holidays in then-communist Russia and the rest of the Soviet Union, but soon expanded to cater for all types of travel with corporate travel in particular.

    More Details Visit Website

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