India

With strong IT, industrial and agricultural sectors, India is overcoming past setbacks to grow into one of the world’s largest economies.

India is one of the world's largest and most rapidly growing economies. Although it may be known for exporting information technology services, business services and software development, nearly 50% of its GDP comes from industry and traditional village farming, as well as from more advanced agricultural production, including food processing and canning.

India is still working at being an open-market economy. Economic liberalization measures that began in the early 1990s were responsible for accelerating the country’s rapid growth, but between 2011 and 2013, high interest rates, rising inflation and investor concern over the desire for further economic liberalization slowed things down.

There was, however, a rebound due to the 2014 election of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who promised economic reforms. In 2014 and 2015, growth exceeded 7%.

Challenges to India’s continued growth include bad debt for government-owned banks and inadequate transport for food and other goods, but the outlook for the economy remains generally positive.

BUSINESS ETIQUETTE

1. Cricket crazy. Indians are wild for cricket. If there’s a one-day game, punctuality will drop considerably. Otherwise, expect colleagues to be on time or five minutes late, as traffic can be unpredictable.

2. Take your time. Don’t expect a firm yes or no answer during the first meeting. Indian businesspeople prefer to take their time. Schedule at least two meetings per trip.

3. Meeting munchies. Indians are famous for treating their foreign business peers to meals. Expect food to be served at business meetings.

4. Dress your best. Executive businesspeople dress in suits, but don’t expect as many in Delhi; smart casual attire (cotton pants or skirt and a buttoned-down shirt) in lighter fabrics is common due to the heat.

5. Brace for a wild ride. Queues for admission to an event or for a service are common but never orderly. Indians may, however, defer to foreigners if their appearance makes their status obvious.

FACTS FOR INVESTORS

1. India ranks 97th out of 144 countries on Forbes’ Best Countries for Business list for 2015.

2. India ranks 130th out of 189 countries on the World Bank’s 2015 Ease of Doing Business index.

3. India is the world's 11th-largest importer and 17th-largest exporter.

TRAVEL TIPS

1. Wi-Fi. Most hotels and public places have Wi-Fi, but government offices don’t.

2. English access. Although there are many languages, Hindi is dominant, spoken as a first language by 41% of the population. English, however, is widely spoken across the country.

3. Tipping. Tipping isn’t necessary, although it’s commonly done in five-star hotels. There is no set amount.

4. Getting around. Delhi and Agra (home of the Taj Mahal) are popular destinations, as are Goa and the beaches on the country’s eastern coast. When it comes to personal security, stay in groups — don’t go out at night by yourself, especially as a first-timer.

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About the Author

Jennifer Campbell


Jennifer Campbell is a freelance writer based in Ottawa.

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