India is becoming known today as an economic powerhouse for sectors ranging from manufacturing to outsourced business services. The diversity of capabilities is unique and varies from one part of the country to another. Today, the focus will be on Southern India, where industries include automotive components, textiles, IT, chemicals, and many more.
As highlighted by Ms. Aileen Nandi of the United States Commercial Service, Southern India presents opportunities for businesses around the world. Ms. Aileen is the Senior Commercial Officer in Chennai and represents the commercial interests of U.S. businesses in the region. Part of her responsibilities include understanding the current market conditions as they apply to the region and helping companies who are interested in expanding their global foothold in Southern India. In an interview with Doug Barry, Director of Marketing for the United States Commercial Service, Ms. Aileen underscored the enormous size of the Indian market and highlighted the uniqueness of each part of the country.
Interestingly enough, Ms. Aileen mentioned that the financial capital of India is located in the northern part of the country and sometimes known as the place to begin exporting products. However, the cities in the south such as Chennai, Bangalore and Hyderabad are many times more appropriate as beginning export markets. The infrastructure in these areas is not the best, but the size of the middle class who are potential buyers of products produced from other areas in the world is fairly sizeable. Furthermore, the diversity of industry sectors in the south often times presents more prospective buyers.
To emphasize the growth potential of Southern India, it is important to mention the impact of the recent economic downturn on this region. As economies around the world shrunk and unemployment skyrocketed, companies in Southern India continued to hire new employees. The import of goods and services to this region continued to grow, although at a somewhat more conservative rate than in the past.
Last but not least, the culture of India is of utmost importance when evaluating potential export opportunities. Two important elements that Ms. Aileen drew attention to were the need for patience and strong relationships. International businesses that have experience selling to this region have learned that large capital purchases require a long sales cycle due in part to the culture of slow and deliberate consideration on the part of Indian businesspeople. Further, Ms. Aileen pointed out that relationships with potential clients will help to solidify business deals in a way that teleconferencing cannot.
All in all, Southern India is a region that spans many industries and presents significant opportunities for businesses around the world. Considering the state of the world economy and this region’s performance through the downtown, one must conclude that a fresh look at Southern India is more than warranted. As with any international business transaction, consideration of the Indian culture is of utmost importance.