India - Country Commercial Guide
Market Entry Strategy
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Strategic planning, due diligence, consistent follow-up, patience, and commitment are prerequisites for business success in India. Language, culture, consumer behavior, standards, and economic development often vary from state to state, and companies that adopt a one-size approach are unlikely to make broad headway in the Indian market. Indian business culture also values the rapport that comes from face-to-face interactions, and in-person meetings are often a prerequisite when formalizing business partnerships or agreements. While the pandemic has led Indian companies to work more frequently with global partners in virtual environments, it remains to be seen whether this is a permanent shift in business practices.

Finding Partners and Agents

U.S. businesses new to the Indian market must navigate route-to-market issues, such as sales channels, distribution, marketing practices, pricing, certification, and labeling, as well as the protection of intellectual property. These issues are often effectively addressed through an Indian partner or agent, and cultivating strong working relationships with potential agents is important to successful market entry and expansion. Due diligence is strongly recommended to ensure that credible, reliable partners are identified.

Market Entry Considerations

There is significant untapped potential across sectors in India, with many international companies eyeing market opportunities and facing a growing base of local firms across industries. Given the increased competition, identifying target markets and considering qualified partners who know these markets well is important. U.S. exporters should consider setting up subsidiaries or joint ventures in India. Creating strategies for specific regions, consumer segments, and economic groups; crafting offerings according to the target group to gain early acceptance; obtaining mandatory licenses and approvals; and understanding import documentation and procedures, are all important to success.