UK firms turning to India for cost-effective solutions

September 8th, 2008 - 10:28 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Sep 8 (IANS) Hit by credit crunch, British companies are now turning towards Indian firms for cost-effective solutions to cushion the effect of the global economic slowdown, officials of a bilateral trade promotion group said here Monday.Denying reports that the economic slowdown would have negative impact on bilateral trade, UK Trade and Investment chairman Andrew Cahn said there was no evidence of such, with trade fast approaching $10 billion and investment continuing to escalate.

Reinforcing the message, UK India Business Council (UKIBC) executive director Sharon Bamford narrated a recent meeting with a British entrepreneur. “When I asked him if he was facing a slowdown, he mentioned that it was because of the slowdown that 30 percent of his work was being done in India. Now, due to diversification, he was not feeling the effect of the credit crunch,” she said.

The UKIBC official told IANS that there was also “anecdotal evidence” of British firms turning to India, rather than China, mainly due to cultural and historical linkages.

At the same time, UKIBC country director Adrian Mutton said the success of Britain’s bilateral trade promotion group in China would be a roadmap for helping British companies set up offices here in India.

The council, formed by the British government in September 2007, opened its first office in India Monday in a central business district in the capital city.

Besides the UKIBC, the premises will eventually host the offices of the Confederation of British Industries and British Business Group.

“This is a manifestation of the scale of the UK’s interest,” said the British ambassador to India Richard Stagg.

So far, in the first half of 2008, Indian companies have already made acquisition of $2.68 billion in the UK, making India the single largest investor.

But, at the same time, the UKIBC is concerned that the next generation of Indian entrepreneurs were more enamoured of opportunities in the US.

The UKIBC office in India will offer “hand-holding services” to small and medium enterprises looking for opportunity in the expanding Indian economy - from searching for the right partner to finding a public relations firm.

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