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How London Is Offering Opportunities To Indian Businesses

Though the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted businesses around the world and brought the world economy to a standstill, ties between India-UK ties continue to hold strong through the storm.

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London has always been one of the most attractive destinations for businesses around the world to set up shop. More so, for Indian companies who are looking at a global presence. It is on the wish list of most startups and even established brands who look at London’s low taxation economy, supportive regulatory system, availability of a diverse and efficient talent pool, ease of doing business and most importantly, access to finance/funding through its vast network of Venture Capitalists, and find the city offers an ideal environment to build and expand a successful enterprise.

Though the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted businesses around the world and brought the world economy to a standstill, ties between India-UK ties continue to hold strong through the storm. A recently released Grand Thornton Report stated that the UK named India as one of its key targets for a free trade agreement post-Brexit and that India-UK ties will continue to strengthen despite a global economic slowdown bought about by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Both regions are producing some of the most exciting companies and developing cutting edge technologies.

India-based companies like OYO Rooms and Ola Cabs are doing their bit in both countries and helping fight the COVID-19 pandemic. OYO Rooms is giving out rooms for health workers at discounted rates in London and India. Bengaluru-based Ola Cabs is supporting NHS workers in the UK by offering a 50% discount on rides they take. The company is also offering mobility support for healthcare workers and senior citizens and has donated INR 20 crores in relief funds.

We’ve found that for Indian companies especially, London is a particularly attractive investment destination. Among the 850 UK-incorporated limited companies that are owned directly or indirectly, or controlled, by either an Indian-incorporated parent or an Indian citizen resident outside the UK last year, 54% are based in London, with the majority choosing the capital as their base growing for the sixth consecutive year.

The major pull for Indian companies to choose London over other European cities as their business destination is the access to funding/finance found in the city. Global tech investors are increasingly pumping large sums of money into European tech companies and London has seen a huge chunk of that investment. According to a report, total VC funding for London tech sector rose by an unprecedented 87 per cent to $9.7 billion in 2019— more than any other European city.

The big-ticket funding deals in 2019 included an $800m mega-round for London-based insurance tech company, Grensill; a $575m Series G round for Deliveroo and a $440m in funding for London-headquartered fintech company, OakNorth.

Not only Indian companies but businesses around the world have also chosen London as their top choice for investment for years now. You will find that London once again led the Global Power City Index (GPCI) for the eighth consecutive year in 2019. The index evaluates and ranks the major cities of the world on their power to attract people, capital, and enterprises from around the world. Countries are rated in areas of the economy, R&D, cultural interaction, livability, environment and accessibility, and London has topped this list for a few years now. 

London also remains the top place in Europe for creating high growth tech businesses, having created 46 unicorn companies in 2019 including, Babylon and Sumup. 

Some of the other key attractions that make London the go-to place for Indian enterprises are: it has the most efficient workforce and one of the biggest talent pools — it has the world’s top 40 universities; it is home to a high number of global decision-makers; it is one of the best-connected cities in the world — direct flights to 326 destinations across the globe; time zones in London are conducive for most countries around the world and lastly, London is globally recognised as the international hub of finance.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

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Hemin Bharucha

The author is Chief Representative India- London& Partners

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