The British High Commission in New Delhi is urging UK firms to target India’s burgeoning tech market which is set to triple in the next ten years.
The news comes ahead of ‘India UK Future Tech month’ taking place in various locations across the UK throughout November, including dates in Birmingham and Manchester.
Department for International Trade (DiT) Deputy Trade and Investment Commissioner Amo Kalar said there are huge opportunities for British firms to import and export within India’s rapidly expanding digital economy.
Also known as ‘The Internet Economy’ or Internet of Everything (IoE) it is regarded by experts as the ‘third industrial revolution’. It is expected to generate new market growth opportunities, jobs and become the biggest business opportunity for mankind in the next 30 to 40 years.
Predictions show that India, contributing to 15pc of the world’s population, with a growth rate of 7 to 8pc, could be the second largest economy by 2030 and India’s new leadership considers the digital economy as a major growth enabler.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has strategically listed “Digital India” among the top priorities for the new central government. Meanwhile, The Department of Electronics & Information Technology of India published an Internet of Things policy estimating the industry to grow up to INR 940 billion by 2020.
“In November we are doubling up our India UK Future Tech month bringing tech driven delegations across a range of sectors to London, the Midlands and Manchester,” said Mr Kalar. “Our aim is to show that the UK is the best place for business design and innovation.
“We are encouraging UK firms to turn up and knock on our doors. India’s technology needs are going to triple in the next ten years, and it you look at creative industries and financial technology in particular the UK has an exceptionally strong offer for India.
“The phrase I am repeating is ‘technology doesn’t do market access’. There will be an ongoing debate in the future about trade barriers and policy. But actually, when you look at technology and as an example its ability to move money seamlessly through a mobile platform, for example from London to Delhi in micro seconds, there is no question about market access.
“At the moment India is as dynamic and full of potential as it’s ever been. It has an incredibly fast-growing economy and has got fundamental strengths both in terms of opportunities for UK exporters and Indian businesses looking toward the UK in terms of foreign investment. India is responsive with a significant domestic market and will always look to the UK as an investment proposition.”
Focus areas for the Indian government’s ‘Internet of Things’ policy show wide ranging opportunities across multiple sectors. They include agriculture, health, water quality, natural disasters, transportation, security, automobile, supply chain management, smart cities, automated metering and monitoring of utilities, waste management, oil and gas.
“I’ve been having a number of conversations with Indian investors around tech, design and life sciences and the UK is where they want to develop their premium products,” he said. “There is a very strong financial technology bridge between India and UK. India looks towards the UK and London in particular for Fintech expertise. India is just at the very basic level of a very fast growing mobile payments market.
“From a UK perspective, we are seeing a trend where businesses are targeting the second generation of Indian business families, where you have a relatively captive market of UK or US educated tech entrepreneurs. In our work with the ‘Future 50’ and ‘Technology Rocket Ship’ awards, we are trying to pick off this cohort and fully expose them to the UK.
“There are also the Indian firms providing UK companies with back office services. They too want to be part of the UK India tech movement. They are amending their business models to provide more high value work in the UK because they want to grow their market share here.
“In addition, there are the classic two to three-person consultancy outfits which want to grow their business in the UK. This often involves Indian tier 2 and tier 3 cities such as Hyderabad with much smaller companies which can scale very quickly. They can deliver a technology supply chain on the Indian side.”
“We are incredibly lucky to be in a position where the first conversation you tend to have with an Indian businessperson is about their children studying here, time spent here, holidaying here. People say that the relationship is based on a strong diaspora, and it is, but it’s much more than that. A lot of business you come across are interested in business in the UK purely because they see the potential here.”
As the UK forges a new trading relationship within Europe and exporters look to broaden horizons outside the continent Mr Kalar reinforced the importance of carrying out research and sourcing the right partner when entering the subcontinent.
“The UK’s evolving trade relationship with India will naturally reflect India’s growing needs driven by a rising middle class with global tastes and a demand for entertainment and technology,” he said. “It is an investment to enter the Indian market whatever you do, being a product based business or a service provider. You have to source the right partner, you have to do your homework and visit regularly.
“Firms should look to seek out government support where available. Importantly, they should also plan for the ‘long term’ because the rewards will come to those who commit to India’s growing economy. Ultimately, if you enter the Indian market you will always learn something about your product, service or partners. It’s a very interesting place to do business and the demand for UK products and services is growing.”