Potential investors keen on utilising the existing and emerging opportunities in India are often baffled by the complexity of systems and procedures and varying business practices between regions.
This is one of the reasons for poor flow of investments from New Zealand.
Successive Labour and National governments and diplomats of both countries have spoken about lifting trade volumes and facilitating trade, business councils and trade organisations have largely proved to be ineffective except to organise conferences and everyone talks about concluding the imponderable and unachievable Free Trade Agreement.
There is a need for an organisation on the ground that can connect businesses and more important, guide them through the process of establishing their presence in what is arguably the most exciting and the fastest growing economy in the world.
There exist companies and people with proven expertise; their works are not well known.
Among them is CricHQ and its Mumbai based South Asia Chief Executive Sreedhar Venkatram, keen to promote business and people.
“While market knowledge is important to do business in any country, knowing the right people with the right approach is even more vital for businesses to engage with India. There are commercial opportunities available to New Zealand investors in India and in other emerging economies in South Asia,” he said.
“But be prepared for a cultural shock and have enormous patience,” he warned.
Sreedhar said that CricHQ aims to serve potential investors to do business in a region that accounts for more than two billion people, of who about 1.3 billion are in India.
“The CricHQ platform has a presence in over 50 countries and a user base in excess of 1.6 million. People in India see Cricket as a religion and there is a great visibility for CricHQ in South Asia, people correlate to Brendon McCullum, Stephen Fleming, Grant Elliott and other Cricketers. We aim to increase our customer base and offer one of the finest innovative technology for young talents, trainers, academies, sports associations, and others,” he said.
Sreedhar said that building relationship is the key to doing business with Indians in India and that the market is not only very large but also varied.
“The country accounts for more than 700 million who are ‘underserved,’ and hence there is plenty to explore. Starting a conversation that includes Cricket and Bollywood will always enlist enthusiastic response but there are sensitivities that should be understood; all of which make it important to work with a ground person within India,” he said.
Role for Innovation
India is focused to become a US$5 trillion economy by 2024, if average annual growth rate is held at 8% or above, he said.
“There is a role for innovative New Zealand businesses in this evolving economy. India has moved from away from food, clothing and shelter to health, wellness. It is a modern country, with a strong appetite for state-of-the-art infrastructure, technology and e-commerce. Investors can seek at least 55 destinations in this country and then expand,” Sreedhar said.
He said that the increasing number of people with disposable income, propensity to spend and the good-old Indian penchant for consumption are all factors that work in favour of international and national investors.
“The number of smartphones alone is expected to reach 829 million, still covering only 60% of the population, by 2022. The country will have an internet customer base of 475 million and the e-commerce market will increase to US$200 billion by 2026. As the third largest consumer economy in the world, consumption in terms of value is expected to triple to $US4 trillion by 2025. The potential is huge,” he said.
About Sreedhar Venkatram
A thoroughbred Mumbaikar with a sound knowledge of the commercial capital of India, Sreedhar brings to his current assignment enviable experience and expertise of promoting businesses across the country.
During his 11 year-tenure at the Mumbai based New Zealand Trade & Enterprise (he was acting Trade Commissioner for nine months in 2008-2009 as New Zealand transited to a new National-led government), he has supported many multi-million dollar enterprises to set up their operations in India.
Among them are Glidepath, Rakon, STAAH, Pingar, New Zealand International Pilot Academy, Merlot Aero, Serko, Powershield, Tait, Velocity Made Good, International Aviation Academy of New Zealand, Redesign and Aeroqual.
He was also Beachheads Network Manager (NZTE India Beachheads), connecting businesses in either country.
His previous employment included that of Regulatory Advisor for FedEX and Export Promotion Councils sponsored by the Indian government.