India: The Northern Powerhouse- A Catalyst For Business With India?

Last Updated: 12 June 2015
Article by Joanne Ahmed

China has historically been the market to break into for UK firms in recent years. Despite similar hype surrounding its economy as one of the 'BRIC' countries, India has not yet stepped into the limelight as a great place to do business. However, this could change in the coming years, with recent forecasts suggesting that India, Vietnam and the Philippines are set to be the region's pacesetters in the near future. 

It would be unfair to suggest that the North West has not established ties with India. In fact, our 2014 Business Travel Survey, conducted in collaboration with Manchester Airport, found that 73 per cent of respondents from 'BRIC' countries were from India and were entering for business opportunities. There is clearly a growing interest in the North for Indian businesses, and with the Indian economy seeing a projected rise of three times its current GDP between now and 2016/2017, northern businesses should certainly turn their attention to breaking into India.  

However, more needs to be done in order to promote the message that India and the North should collaborate more. The Deloitte India Services Group and the Manchester India Steering Group are aiming to bring this together, with the government's 'Northern Powerhouse' policy set to play a key role. With an increase in powers to be granted to the region in the coming years, Deloitte, MIDAS, UKTI, the universities and local businesses are all working together to demonstrate that the North West operates as the main entry point into the UK market for Indian companies. 

With strong technology and healthcare sectors, and playing host to a media hub, Manchester offers India innovation - a vital asset which is scarce in the booming manufacturing country. Having produced one of the world's first commercially available computers, as well as being responsible for the textile boom in the industrial revolution, it's clear that Manchester is at the forefront of innovation in the UK. Currently, Manchester Science Park, Media City and Manchester University are some of the key innovators in the region and can offer Indian businesses a real opportunity to gain knowledge and expertise in their respective fields. 

However, timing is critical when considering expansion into India, as the growing middle-class culture in the country is presenting a real opportunity for UK retail firms to move internationally. Due to the increasing levels of disposable income, we are now starting to see UK retail chains move into the Indian market. Strong northern brands such as and Missguided could lead the way for a number of the region's companies to take advantage of this, but it is important for businesses to move quickly to fully capitalise. 

India is certainly an exciting opportunity both for Indian and UK businesses. The economies of both countries appear promising and the increase of devolution through the Northern Powerhouse is likely to be the catalyst to increase collaboration between the two. Northern cities, including Manchester, Leeds and Newcastle, are coming together to offer an attractive foothold into the UK market and we will begin to see an influx in Indian investment in the coming years. Similarly, with many businesses now setting their sights on international expansion, India will fast become one of the leading countries for UK firms to invest in.   

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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