Here is a five-point list of things to look out for if you do business with a partner from India:
- As in most Asian countries, India is a collectivist country. Maintaining harmony is essential in all negotiations and all kinds of confrontation should be avoided. Categorical and direct refusals are not well perceived.
- Indian society is also very hierarchical, higher ranking officials, in particular those who are older, are very well respected. Final decisions are made at this level.
- Permitted physical contact is limited and is condemned with someone of the opposite sex. Although the use of a handshake is widespread in a business context, a man meeting a woman should wait for her to initiate the gesture. In case she does not, it is recommended to abstain and to opt for a Namaste, the traditional local greeting.
- Gift exchange is very common in India. Giving alcohol is not very widespread, it is preferable to opt for sweets or corporate gifts. The gift should not be too expensive and the packaging should never be black or white.
- It is imperative to use your right hand when engaging in a handshake or to serve yourself food.
It is understandable that a company whose brand or brands have a huge notoriety would prefer to change as little as possible when trying to penetrate foreign markets. But it could be disastrous to transplant a product from any cultural context to another without carrying out certain adjustments. This is particularly true in India. Kellogg’s learned this when it wanted to launch its product Corn Flakes a few years ago in a country where it is common to eat a bowl of warm vegetables for breakfast, and where the minority who do eat cereal for breakfast prefer to eat them with warm milk. The flakes could not stand up to the heat, became soggy and much less appetising. Paired with a very high price, the product did not experience the success that was expected.
He who wants to win, wants the ball…
Who could have believed that McDonald’s, whose main product is a hamburger, would succeed in a market where the vast majority of people don’t eat beef and a quarter of the population eat no meat at all? Yet, there are currently 160 branches across the country! This is because McDonald’s adapted its products to match local taste in a distinct menu, with no beef or pork but lots of vegetarian options. In fact, more than 70% of the menu is indianized (compared to a general average of 33% in Asia). Besides, they were able to keep their branding and link it to an image of quality, impeccable services, cleanliness and world-wide values.Read More
India is among the 13 priority markets where Canadian opportunities and interests have the greatest potential for growth, according to the Canadian government. In 2008, bilateral exchanges grew by 24% to reach an unprecedented value of 4.6 billion dollars. Compared to 2007, Canadian exports to India increased by 33% to reach 2.4 billion dollars while Canadian imports from India rose to 2.2 billion. In the same year, Canadian FDI in India was valued at $1.022 billion, while it was the recipient of $801 million from India. The priority sectors include agriculture, food-processing, infrastructure, ICT, mining and quarrying, life sciences and basic services.
Source: http://www.ic.gc.caRead More
India possesses a highly qualified and educated workforce. Its universities are renowned throughout the world and are ranked as leaders in fields such as mathematics, sciences and technology. Three quarters of the GDP is generated by typical industries of the knowledge-based economy like IT, biotechnology, car parts and electronics. Last year, the country succeeded in launching a rocket and putting numerous satellites into orbit. India’s vast intellectual capital resources will allow its economy to grow and, according to Goldman Sachs, become the world’s third strongest economy in 2035.Read More
Estimated at 50 million people in 2008, India’s middle class should reach 583 million in 2025. Global consumption is expected to quadruple within the next 20 years. Hence, this hike would allow India to become the fifth largest consumer market in 2025, behind the United States, Japan, China and the United Kingdom (India is currently in 12th position). This increase will be mostly due to the growth in revenue.Read More
The world’s largest democracy
With its 1.15 billion inhabitants, the Republic of India is the second most populated country in the world after China. Hindi, the official language, is spoken by approximately 40% of the population*. In addition, the Constitution officially recognises 22 other languages, and it has been estimated that 844 dialects are used all over the country. English is the business language and is used in varying degrees by 40% of the population, which is composed of around 2,000 different ethnic groups. India established a democratic system of government following its declaration of independence in 1947, which survives paradoxically with the economic and social disparities. The federalist system consolidates this cultural plurality and makes India “unified in its diversity”.
* The various dialects are included.Read More