Doing business in India - Guide

Taj Mahal

Our guide to doing business in India

Bewildering and brilliant, India is arguably the most engaging, spiritual and life-affirming country in the world. Boasting one of the fastest growing global economies, India is the second largest country in the world by population and the largest English speaking nation on the planet. 

The UK is the third largest investor in the Indian market and £8.59 billion of British goods and services were imported into India in 2014, with export opportunities available to businesses of all shapes and sizes.

Benefits for your business

India is a market that requires a lot of patience and a long-term strategy to be successful, but rest assured there are many lucrative benefits on offer for UK businesses that choose India: 

  • English is a widely spoken language
  • Personal incomes are rising, creating a whole new middle class consumer market
  • It’s a fast-growing economy with one of the world’s largest youth populations
  • Cities are expanding; the country now has over 50 cities with over a million people
  • A common legal and administrative system

 

Researching the market

India should never be treated as one single national market, instead you should consider each of its 29 states as a separate country that could each need a tailored approach. Moving from state to state, the language, cultural practices and preferences may be entirely different to that of the last.

A mixture of desk based research and market visits will help you research market entry requirements in each specific state. Regional plans and good local research are a necessity. 

Look to determine whether:

  • there is a market for your product or service
  • your pricing is competitive
  • you need to localise your product
  • you need to adapt your business model



Growth potential

In order to maintain growth, India has removed the majority of its trade barriers to make it a more attractive proposition for businesses. Huge investment potential exists in various sectors, including:

  • Life sciences
  • Manufacturing
  • Energy
  • Infrastructure
  • Skills and Education 
  • Food and Drink 

 

Language and culture

Important things to be aware of:

  • India is hierarchical, even in the office environment
  • Small talk particularly about the family, is highly valued when building relationships
  • Using your right hand in all situations
  •  Always having a business card to present
  • Business contacts are to be adressesd Mr/Mrs/Ms or Sri/Smt (Srimati) with surname
  • Refer to superiors/senior in age as ‘sir’ or ‘madam’
  • Do not use first names unless invited to do so
  • Are you interested in finding new customers in India?

    Our locally based market specialists can help you identify and secure new export opportunities. We'll work closely with your business to deliver a comprehensive market entry strategy that ensures sales success and a return on investment.

  • Win new business in high-growth markets

    Our Extend your Global Reach programme has been created to help ambitious South West companies find new sales opportunities in China, India, Latin America and SE Asia. These regions are hungry to buy British goods and services and we don't want you to miss out!

    *Please note that new applications for EYGR under the Export for Growth programme are now closed. Support remains available for clients who applied and were accepted on or before the 29th November 2019.*

  • Meet your expert

    Ameeta Virk has dedicated the last five years assisting British companies grow their exports, leading multiple trade delegations to bring UK businesses together with their overseas customers. Previoulsy Ameeta had a varied career in Europe, Asia and the US in the retail, education and healthcare sectors.

Useful links

  • International Market Research

    Before entering any new foreign market it is essential to carry out detailed international market research. We can help.

    Find out more
    /export/international-market-research
  • Intellectual Property Protection

    Our professional IP advisers have decades of experience helping businesses file IP applications in all countries.

    Find out more
    /export/intellectual-property
  • Export Documentation and logistics

    We can advise you on the trade documents required for each overseas market, or handle the entire process for you.

    Find out more
    /export/export-documentation