On 13th September, members of the MMTA joined business clients of MMTA member, ICICI Bank, at their London offices to share some of the opportunities and pitfalls of doing business in one of the world’s most populous and growing markets – India. Hosts ICICI gave an overview of the bank and its services for SMEs, outlining how they can meet business needs.
For those attendees unfamiliar with the MMTA and the world of minor metals, General Manager, Maria Cox, introduced the work of the association, while Anthony Lipmann of Lipmann Walton & Co Ltd, gave a lively and interactive overview of the scope and importance of minor metals. Using a range of examples and samples, Anthony traced the journey of several of the smaller minor metals from their status as by-products of larger metals through to their essential uses in today’s modern world in consumer electronics and aerospace applications.
The final speaker, Teja Picton-Howell of Penningtons Manches LLP presented some of the opportunities and challenges indicative of the Indian market. He juxtaposed the exciting and fast-growing economy and its many highly sophisticated companies, a highly educated labour force, and high levels of productivity with the administration’s drive to eradicate corruption and high levels of poverty which are still a feature of life.
In a lively discussion, representatives from ICICI and Indian business pointed to positives, such as the ability to contract with certainty due to the similarity to the English law system and adherence to globally recognised arbitration rules.
India, it was pointed out, has the highest number of under 35-year-olds in the world, as well as the most well educated. Wage costs in India are seen to be growing faster than the growth of the employer companies themselves, demonstrating the growing wealth in the economy. With 4-500 million middle class citizens, there is massive growth in infrastructure, including aerospace; and it is estimated that there will be 875 million smart phones in use by 2025, both trends offering significant opportunities for minor metals.
A word of caution was expressed, however: those considering investing into the Indian market need to be aware that there are significant upsides, but also downsides if one is not well prepared. Businesses need to have the right strategy and understand the highly federalised structure of the country.
The MMTA would like to thank ICICI for their hospitality in making this event so enjoyable and informative. Thanks also go to the speakers for their informative overviews, and to MMTA members and ICICI customers who made the event so entertaining. The evening was accompanied by a buffet of traditional Indian food.