Exports to Tanzania

How to start your import-export business in India?

Located in the South of Asia, the Republic of India is one of the world’s largest countries. It is the second most populated country, after China. Having a population that is getting more and more educated, and vast natural resources, the production of Indian companies grows and for many companies exporting their products is a logical next step.

Import and export in India

The top exports of India are :

  • Jewellery ($10.2B)
  • Rice ($7.71B)
  • Cars ($5.57B)
  • Refined Petroleum ($56.8B)
  • Packaged Medicaments ($11.8B)

The top export destinations of India are:

  • the United States ($33.9B)
  • the United Arab Emirates ($27.9B)
  • China ($15.6B)
  • Singapore ($10.3B)
  • the United Kingdom ($9.7B)

Major products imported

The major products imported in India are Crude petroleum ($132 B), Gold and silver ($32 B), Coal Briquettes ($14.3B), Petroleum Gas ($13.3B) and Diamonds ($13.1B). The fact that these are all raw products underlines the value that is being added in the Indian industry.

Three points to consider when you want to export from India

If you want to start with export from India, you will notice that to world market may be reluctant to buy goods from Indian companies, due to many misperceptions. Therefore you should ask yourself the following questions:

1. Does your product stand out from the rest?

If you are selling commodities like unprocessed food products, plates, plain cloth, tyres or bolts, there is hardly any use to enter foreign markets on your own. You will face there the same price competition as in your home market, and you will make extra costs. If you think that you can stand out due to your lower production costs compared to e.g. Germany, please note that the companies further on in the value chain will absorb that advantage.

However, if your product stands out by its design, functionality or its sustainability, and you know that this can not easily be copied, then you can think of exporting it.

2. Have you documented your company and product well?

International business is based on trust, because it is always difficult to enforce a contract in a foreign country. Therefore your potential clients should trust you. The best way to achieve this trust is to share information about your company, your manufacturing process, your products, your customer service. Make presentations with real pictures, include certificates and references as credentials and also make sure that your website has a modern format and is updated.

Please note that every culture has its own preferred way of communicating. Getting straight to the point with your sales pitch is not always seen as the way to start a conversation. Have a local person advise you.

3. Do you have money to invest?

If you expect that you can find an agent abroad who will sell you product purely on a commission basis, without any further support, then forget it.  Just as the airline will charge you in advance, and not on basis of the success of your business trip, also other service providers will charge you for their advice, for setting up a company, for arranging meetings. If you want to have your products in an established retail chain, it may even be that you will have to pay for the space you occupy on their shelves. So they shift their risks to you!

Every product needs marketing. For business-to-business, you may have to translate your product documentation in the local language and your agent or distributor needs printed copies or product samples. You may have to come over to train them and to invite them to see your facilities. Retailers will expect you to help with their marketing and financially contribute to advertisements in which they feature your product.

There are many ways to finance your exports, but one thing is for sure: you are the one that will have to invest and to take the risk!

Let us help you with your market entry!

Alliance experts is a global network of business development professionals. We help companies to enter new markets profitably. We are active in all main economic hubs and regions across the world, including the USA, Germany, France, Singapore and China. In India we work from Delhi.

We work on a consulting basis, so we will charge you even in case your ventures abroad are not successful. But we deliver what we promise, and this way you won’t loose margin in the long run. Working with us will result in a faster market entry and less failure. Just reach out to us for more information.

This entry in Asia was updated on May 21, 2021 by specialist.