India is a bright spot on the BRICS horizon, posting the highest GDP figures within the comparative economies, says Alasdair Spink, managing director of Odgers Berndtson’s India office and head of the industrial practice across its Asia Pacific offices. A drop in oil prices, adoption of mobile technology and a young workforce are all positives.
“Technology in India is used to overcome the issues of poor infrastructure and services. It is even put to use to try and battle corruption by putting government services online,” says Spink. The population has leap-frogged personal computers and laptops in favour of the smart phone, making them among the world’s most connected people. Spink agrees with economists who say India will have the third-largest economy in the world by 2030 but he sounds notes of caution.
“Although it sounds impressive… It still doesn’t mean much if you take purchasing power parity, purchasing per capita.
People are still going to be poor, but they’re going to be less poor.
With 1.25 billion people India is an enormous market especially when you consider 50 of its cities have a population of over one million and it’s urbanising rapidly… it’s all very interesting,” he says.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is promoting a business-friendly emerging market open to foreign direct investment and, coupled with India’s demographic advantage over other economies – 50 per cent of the population is under the age of 25 and 12 million young people join the nation’s labour market each year – it is already ahead of countries such as China, says Spink.
An embarrassment of talent riches
One of the biggest advantages of developing a worldwide business in India is that educated Indians travel and are international in their outlook.
“The upper tier of the business community do their graduate degree in India and their Masters or MBA overseas – or vice-versa,” says Spink.
“English is the number one language of business in India… All business meetings are conducted in English. Finding mid-to-senior management talent in India is just not a problem, in fact, to a certain extent there’s an embarrassment of riches,” he says, adding that there’s great opportunity for those countries with an Asia and Pacific (APAC) strategy.
Spink is able to reel off a list of past Indian APAC business leaders who have progressed to become global CEOs and predicts their ilk will become the future of world business.
“India has gone through its correction and the next five to 10 years are going to be exciting and dynamic,” he says.
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