India Guide: How to Grow Your Company into the Indian Market

January 26, 2023
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Are you looking to expand your business into the Indian market?
India is a dynamic and thriving market with immense potential for global companies. However, its size and varied cultural requirements can make it difficult to navigate if your company is new to India.
In this market guide, we'll provide an overview of how you can develop your company's presence in India, from understanding the languages for localization to getting more reliable sales.
Let's get started!

Market overview: What you need to know about India

India is the second most populous country in the world, with a population of 1.36 billion people.
It is located on the Indian subcontinent in south-central Asia, bordering China, Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar, and Pakistan.
Industries such as electronics, logistics, chemicals, and renewable energy have experienced extraordinary growth in recent years. In the tech industry, for example, there are 50 unicorn companies (those valued at over $1 billion) and 12,500 startups. 
Unlike some other markets, you can't target just one major city in India and expect to reach most of the population. The capital city of New Delhi has a population of 30.3 million people, but the next most populous city is Mumbai with a close 20.4 million people.
India has gone through a lot of changes in the past three decades, with the business landscape shifting to one of international investment and private businesses. Now is the perfect time to take advantage of the new opportunities that have arisen from these changes.
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Digital adoption in India: GDP and demographics

India has a fast-growing digital economy that businesses of any size can benefit from.
Internet penetration in India stands at 47% as of 2020, with expectations that this will rise to 81% by 2025. This means that India falls far behind the current global average of 88%. However, although the internet infrastructure isn't reliably available everywhere in India, the population is very tech-savvy. Social media usage has grown significantly in recent years, currently standing at over 58%.
Online retail in India is also set for tremendous growth over the next decade, with expectations that it will be worth $300 billion by 2030. The over-45 population is the largest group of new eCommerce shoppers in India.
In terms of the global income opportunity (eGDP), Hindi — the most widely spoken language in India — represents 1.4% of the total global online income and 8.4% of the total online population.

What languages are spoken in India?

India's language landscape is vast and diverse. The market has over 120 languages and 19,500 spoken dialects.
English is widely spoken in India, but according to research from KPMG and Google, 66% of internet users in India use local languages other than English for their online activities. This means that a comprehensive localization strategy for the Indian market should take into account the variety of languages used. By localizing your products, services, and content into the most relevant languages for your target audiences, you help build trust and set yourself apart from your competitors.
For more information about the ins and outs of localizing into Indian languages, check out our article How Many Languages Are In India? Which Should You Target?.
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5 compelling benefits to doing business in India

There are many significant benefits you can gain by growing your business into India.
Some of these include:

1. You get access to a massive, diverse population

India boasts the second largest population in the world, behind China. This means that it offers a vast customer base for businesses looking to reach a large volume of customers.
The diversity of India's population can be a challenge to navigate as it spans many different cultures, locations, and languages. But, if you get your growth strategy right, this diversity can become a benefit.

2. Favorable laws make it easier to conduct business

India has implemented progressive legislation that can help companies looking to sell in the market.
One example is the Goods and Services Tax (GST) that makes it easier for businesses to move goods throughout the country. This simplification makes doing business in India easier and more appealing as it removes many of the previous bureaucratic hurdles.

3. A thriving consumer class is keen to buy online

India's middle class is expanding rapidly, making it an attractive consumer market for businesses.
This burgeoning consumer class is also increasingly more tech savvy and keen to engage with online retail.

4. Tech innovation can help improve your processes

India has become a force to be reckoned with in the technology industry. It now competes with China and the USA for market share in technology.
The technological innovations available in India can be a huge advantage to help you improve your processes, products, and services.

5. Economic stability means a reduced risk

India has achieved impressive macroeconomic stability over the past several years because of its strong democracy, effective policy reforms, and increased investment.
The Global Competitiveness Index from World Economic Forum reflects as India ranks an impressive 41st out of 141 economies.

Compliance and regulations in India you should know about

Regulations in India can be tricky to navigate. It's important to be aware of the various situations that can arise so you can be ready.
When looking to do business in India, global businesses should be aware that registering a company can take a long time. It can take around 3 months to register a business and cost 7.4% of the property value. This is more expensive than in other markets.
If your company were to experience a commercial dispute, this can also take a long time to resolve — with reports of cases taking 1,445 days in the local courts. This is three times longer than in other countries.
Another important regulation to be aware of is that all private limited companies in India are required to have at least two directors. One of these must be an Indian citizen who meets specific residency requirements in India.

What is the political climate like in India?

The political climate in India is highly complex, largely because of its federal system of government and parliamentary tradition.
On the one hand, India offers a stable government and democracy governed by the constitution. On the other hand, corruption is a major problem in India and has been for some time. The Global Corruption Barometer (GCB) found that India had the highest bribery rate of any Asian country at 39%.
India's political climate is constantly evolving with a variety of factors at play. The best way to gain insight into India's political climate is through regular monitoring and analysis of the latest developments.

The 5 keys to successful sales in India

How can you improve your sales success in India?
The first step is to get a handle on the languages in the market and decide which you need to localize into to meet your sales goals.
Here are 5 more keys to successful sales in India:

1. Close more sales with direct contact

In some markets, strategies like cold calling have fallen out of favor, as they are seen as inefficient and problematic.
In India, however, techniques like B2B cold calling and other methods of direct contact with your customers can be a very effective.

2. Scale up for success

Key to success in India's competitive market is planning for scale.
The business landscape in India offers many directions in which you can scale your operations. By considering this from the start, you will create processes that can be easier to scale.

3. Master Indian bargaining tactics

Bargaining is an integral part of the culture in India, so it's important to understand the basics of bargaining.
Be prepared to negotiate on price, even if your products are priced low to begin with, and be open-minded about what the customer is looking for.

4. Take it straight to the top

If you are selling B2B, it is often a good idea to take your pitch straight to the top of a business.
CEOs and Managing Directors in India are often the ones who will make the final decision on whether or not to invest in your products or services.

5. Use regional language content

If you want to grow into a particular region in India, you will almost certainly need to localize your content into the relevant regional languages.
A good translation provider can help you decide which languages you should use if you are uncertain.
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Where to get further help on moving into India

Do you want to explore how you could grow your business into the Indian market?
Rubric is the perfect partner for any global company who is looking to expand into India. Our team of experts has extensive experience localizing content for the Indian market.
We can help you make the move into this lucrative market by streamlining your localization processes and targeting your localization efforts. Contact us today to find out more about our services and how we can help you with your transition into India.