Moderated by Gunjan Bagla, founder & managing Director of Amritt Consulting and tag teaming with University of California Riverside professor Dr. Jeremey Busacca attendees first were treated to a thorough overview about the India economy, culture, political structure and business climate. Then the panel of experts each shared a summary of their business experiences in India before fielding a series of questions from the audience. The audience was made up of CEO’s from small and large businesses all trying to get a better understanding of how to expand their business into the fastest growing economy in the world.
To help the audience understand the Indian businessman, Bagla said, “The Indian businessman may speak English but does not think American.” This alluded to the cultural differences that can contribute to misunderstanding each other, even if we speak the same language. Understanding these differences can go a long way to being successful in the India Market.
The most valuable lessons were learned by the audience as the panel fielded questions from the audience covering a wide range of concerns. One large glue company asked,” How can we overcome the 20% tariff put on our product and be competitive in India?” Gunjan, who has experience helping many companies into the India Market reminded the company that, “all glue companies around the globe have the same challenge” and made the point that when Toyota was trying to gain entry into the U.S. market for the first time, with the challenges it faced, they got a US advertising company to help them establish their brand to penetrate the market and have been with the same agency for years. Another panelist responded light heartedly that “In India there are no tariffs only fees” referring to the fees that can be collected that sometimes clear the way for your product. This referenced the practice of bribery, although illegal for all businesses in the US, there seems to be some remnants of it in the India culture that is still practiced which can hinder product entry. The frankness and the candidness of some of the answers opened the eyes of many in the room to some of the challenges in the international markets. These answers offered insightful understanding of the specific differences into the Indian way of doing business. The Riverside County College of Foreign Trade helps U.S. companies to understand the challenges of new export markets. Today was India, tomorrow it will be Singapore.