India a growing opportunity for NZ
If you want to do successful business in India, first you need to love the place, advises a trade mission expert.
Cliff Fuller, New Zealand Trade and Enterprise programme manager for trade missions, told the first India-New Zealand business forum in Hamilton today that in his long experience of India, "some passion, belief and even a love" for the country was almost essential to make a business venture there work.
NZRE's Fuller said India was "full of the unexpected".
Around 12,000 New Zealand export businesses were currently involved in the Indian market, with Waikato's agricultural fencing and security company Gallagher Group a pioneer in the country.
First and foremost, a business had to have confidence it could do business in India, he said. India was in a "tremendous" economic transformation, which offered big opportunities for New Zealand business - "but you have to be of value to India".
India, with GDP of US$4457 billion ($557 billion) and a GDP annual growth rate of nearly 7 per cent, was much too big to take on as a country, he said.
"We need to think of which state, which city, which company (to focus on). India is a universe in itself."
Bilateral trade between India and New Zealand is worth $1.3b a year. Of this, $938m was New Zealand exports to India. Two years ago, bilateral trade was worth $991m and five years ago, exports were just $366m.
India is New Zealand seventh-largest market, its 15th-largest bilateral trading partner, and its third-largest source of foreign students.
Half India's population of 1.2 billion is under 25, the biggest demographic of this age group in the world, Fuller said.
While New Zealand's focus on India has been in the food, beverage and horticulture sectors, the forum heard of huge opportunities in other sectors from agri-tech and aviation to biotechnology, clean technology and services to Indian corporates, looking for upskilling, advisory and education support.
Fuller said billions of dollars were being invested by India in its infrastructure.
"Change attracts money - you need to go where the money is going."
Organised by the school of management at Waikato University, the one-day forum tapped interest in the Government's drive to lift bilateral trade awareness with the emerging economic powerhouse.
The forum attracted more than 60 people and featured several speakers from commerce, dairying, tourism and government in India, including the High Commissioner of India, Avanindra Pandey.
The event coincided with the National Fieldays Society signing a memorandum of understanding in India with the Confederation of Indian Industry, the organisation behind Agro Tech, India's biggest agricultural technology trade event.
Waikato University's management school plans followup forums in India next year, in Hamilton in 2014 and in India in 2015.