How to find your India sales agent, distributor or dealer?

Distributor warehouse

Distribution in a market with 1.4 billion people

India is easily overlooked when searching for international business opportunities, but the country has an enormous population and a developing middle class that will get more spending power year by year. Also the government is willing to do many investments in the infrastructure and in new technologies.

How to find your agent, dealer or distributor?

The first question for export to India is where you want to start: in Delhi, the government center, big cities like Mumbai or Calcutta, or IT outsourcing hotspots like Bangalore? For specific products, smaller cities or regions may also be a starting point.

Working with local agents, dealers or distributors is a prerequisite in India. The selection of the right ones is another story. A local intermediary will help you with this.

Alliance experts can find the right agent or distributor within 6 to 8 weeks

Alliance experts helps companies with entering new markets profitably. In India we work from Delhi with an experienced business development specialist. We can also serve you in other places, like Mumbai and Bangalore.

We have a clear and structured approach to find the best partner

We first want to know what kind of partner you are looking for. Based on your information, we make a long-list of 15-20 potential partners that fit your description. After your approval we find the right decision maker, approach him or her personally and share your business profile with them. This mostly leads to 3-5 companies who are suitable as your partner and interested in working with you. Once we have found these companies, we plan your meetings and accompany you during the first visits.

Working from a long-list to a short-list with 3-5 suitable and interested companies starts from only € 900 per month, plus a small commission on the sales.


More data on India

India follows an open-market economy. Economic liberalization initiatives such as industrial deregulation, privatization of state-owned businesses, and reduced controls on foreign trade and investment started in early 1990’s fueled the country’s tremendous growth averaging 7% per annum in the last two decades.

What do we know about Indian customers?

India has a very strong customer base with a large population of 1.12 billion. The average income of people is $5,833. Income share held by the highest 10% is 28.79% and by the lowest 10% is 3.69% recorded in 2009. Urbanization means migration of people from rural to urban areas. 32% of the population lives in urban areas. There are 50 cities in India with a population of 1 million and above.

What does India import?

Major products imported

  • Crude petroleum ($132 B)
  • Gold and silver ($32 B)
  • Coal Briquettes ($14.3B)
  • Petroleum Gas ($13.3B)
  • Diamonds ($13.1B)

Other main imports include electronic goods, chemicals, engines, machines, pearls and precious stones. The major countries exporting to India are China and Germany.

What are the major ports of India?

Major ports of India are:

  • Kandla port in Gujarat
  • Haldia port in West Bengal
  • Mundra Port: Mundra Port is india’s largest private port
  • Chennai Port: Formerly known as Madras Port, this India’s second largest port. It is largest port in the Bay of Bengal.
  • Jawaharlal Nehru Port: Known as Nhava Sheva Port in Mumbai, this is the largest container port in India.

Major airports of India are:

  • Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi
  • Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Airport, Mumbai
  • Kempegowda in Bangalore
  • Chennai International Airport

What are the customs and tariffs regulations in India?

  • As per section 12 of Indian Customs Act, customs duty is imposed on vessels, vehicles, baggage, currency and negotiable instruments and any other movable items.
  • At present, the basic custom duty is 10%.
  • Licensed items can be imported only after obtaining an import license from the directorate of foreign trade (DGFT)).
  • There are few canalized items that restricted channel of transport like petroleum products, grains, vegetable oil.
  • Prohibited items include tallow fat, unprocessed Ivory, wild animals and animal rennet.

Distribution structures in India

  • The retail sector in India is quite vast. It includes both organized and unorganized retailers.
    • Organized retailers include modern formats like branded stores as well as traditional markets like street markets and kiosks.
    • Unorganized retailers are predominant. It includes small vendors for grocery or day to day items.
  • India has $6.4 trillion wholesale industry employing 9.6 million workers. Wholesalers are the middlemen for producer and retailer. Wholesale industry’s revenue growth in 2013-14 was around 14%.
  • The road infrastructure is rapidly growing in India, however, lags far behind developed countries. Exporters may need a thorough research and partnerships with reliable logistic companies to fulfill deliveries.

Knowledge of the customer base, major gateways, legal matters as well as the distribution structure will be beneficial to your expansion. Having a local partner will help you navigate around the Indian market and ensure optimal results for your strategies.

India offers a wide palette of export opportunities with each region specialising in more than one area. However, if we are to capture the primary sectors for each region, the North holds potential in the areas of Tourism, Travel and Education, while West India is the country’s financial hub. The South region is best suited to the Information Technology, Education, Tourism and Health sectors while East India is primarily an agricultural economy.

Business opportunities in North India

North India comprises 30% of the whole country’s population and is the second largest consular district in the world.

The region includes:

  • Haryana
  • Himachal Pradesh
  • Jammu & Kashmir
  • Punjab
  • Rajasthan
  • Uttar Pradesh
  • Uttarakhand
  • Delhi/National Capital Region (NCR)

Income varies and it’s not as economically and commercially developed as compared to other regions.

Well-represented sectors:

  • Agribusiness
  • Renewable energy (Especially solar)
  • Machine tools
  • Automotive
  • Medical/consumer goods

Strong Opportunities due to the region’s significant population and wealth:

  • Education
  • Travel and tourism
  • General trade

Smart Cities address the need of infrastructure which focuses on integrated urban development and this has been the administration’s top priorities.
Another economic growth priority is to increase state’ competitiveness and improve the overall business climate.

Distribution opportunities in West India

Comprised of five states:

  • Maharashtra
  • Gujarat
  • Madhya Pradesh
  • Chhattisgarh
  • Goa

The region is highly industrialized and with a large urban population. It is also an economic powerhouse with a wide range of sectors:

  • Conventional and renewable energy
  • Chemical and allied products
  • Electrical and non-electrical machinery
  • Textiles
  • Petroleum and allied products
  • Wine
  • Jewelry
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Engineering goods
  • Machine tools
  • Steel and iron castings
  • Plastic wares

The Western region is also home to some of India’s and the world’s best known corporations such as Reliance, Tata, Aditya Birla Group, Godrej, and Mahindra & Mahindra.

The region is also considered to be a hub of growing services sector in India: global banks and financial institutions, two largest life and general insurance companies, and two largest Stock Exchanges ; The Bombay Stock Exchange and The National Stock Exchange.

To top it all off, the region prides itself in the world’s largest suburban railway network.

Business opportunities in South India

The commercial district covers six states:

  • Tamil Nadu
  • Karnataka
  • Kerala
  • Telengana
  • Andhra Pradesh
  • Odisha

It also includes:

  • The Union Territories of Puducherry (Pondicherry)
  • Lakshadweep Islands
  • Andaman & Nicobar Islands

Tamil Nadu

  • Has four major and forty-four minor ports.
  • Home to companies which deal in automotive, manufacturing, healthcare, information technology, and financial services.
  • An educational hub in India.
  • Investments in automotive, consumer electronics, and heavy machinery by other countries.
  • A large number of textile mills are also located in Tamil Nadu’s two major cities.


  • The high-tech hub of India: Bengaluru (Bangalore)
  • Bengaluru is also the aerospace and bio-tech hub of the country.
  • The city is also the first destination of many global consumer brands.
  • The city also displays a growth in healthcare, textiles/apparel, automotive, and construction.


  • Major industries include construction, shipbuilding, transportation, shipping, seafood, spices exports, chemical industries, IT, tourism, health services, and banking.
  • Kochi as the commercial capital of Kerala with several available resources.


  • Its capital, Hyderabad, is a center for IT and other industries.

Andhra Pradesh

  • The Rice Bowl of India
  • India’s second largest source of minerals
  • Petroleum, steel, and fertilizers industries have grown due to natural deep water ports.


  • Rapid economic growth reduced poverty.
  • Investments in mining, power, steel, and port sectors.
  • Newly developed IT parks.

Distribution opportunities in East India

States in this region include:

  • West Bengal
  • Bihar
  • Jharkhand
  • Sikkim
  • Assam
  • Meghalaya
  • Nagaland
  • Arunachal Pradesh
  • Mizoram
  • Tripura
  • Manipur

Major sectors in this region:

  • Mining
  • Metals and minerals
  • Agriculture and agro-based industries
  • Oil and gas
  • Petrochemical
  • Paper
  • Power generation

West Bengal

  • Sixth largest economy in the country
  • Main economic engine of Eastern India
  • Has fertile land.
  • Good reserves of minerals.
  • India’s largest producer of rice
  • Second largest producer of tea

Major festivals of this season include:

  • Durga Puja
  • Diwali
  • Bihu
  • Hornbill festival
  • Chhau dance performed during Chaitra Parva


Share this article
Enter new markets
boost global sales
We help you find and manage the right distribution channels in over 30 countries.

Market entry cases

HCP – the sweetener company
De Heus
Le Joyau d’Olive
CAN Home appliances
Apart Group
RR Engineers
Golden Red Trade Solution
EEPC India