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London’s International, Trade, Investment And Promotion Agency Discusses Links Between UK & India

With the biggest Indian diaspora community in the UK and the fourth largest student population, London remains a top place for Indians looking to study, live and work there.

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London and India have always shared strong cultural and economic links, be it our common love of cricket and spicy food to the large Indian diaspora and student population which now calls London home. More recently, however, both the countries have also mutually strengthened and expanded their technology and innovation verticals, as a result of which, several of India’s most successful companies have chosen London as a preferred destination to scale their businesses.

This year alone, we have seen Ola, the Indian ride-sharing unicorn, announce its London launch. Infosys, India’s top IT giant, opened its first design and innovation studio in the heart of London’s tech hub. Both these companies join the likes of HCL Technologies, Wipro and MindTree that have already made long term investments in the UK capital.

According to 2019, India Meets Britain Tracker report from Grant Thornton, Indian businesses are increasingly making an important contribution to the UK economy, with a record 842 Indian companies operating in the UK, up from 800 in the previous year. The report also states that London continues to be the preferred location for more than half (53%) of the 62 fastest growing Indian companies. As India’s economy continues to grow from strength to strength, there are also many opportunities for ambitious UK companies looking to tap into India’s 1.3 billion potential customers.

Recognising the need to assist companies with the expansion and growth of their businesses across both regions, London & Partners has set up two offices in Bengaluru and Mumbai that provide on-the-ground support to help Indian companies make the most of business opportunities in London, and vice versa.

We are seeing that interest in London as a business destination is not just limited to those in Bengaluru and Mumbai and businesses from all over India are looking for advice on setting up shop in London. According to the latest figures from FDI Intelligence, London attracted more investment projects from India than any other global city in 2018. 

So, what is it that makes London such an attractive business destination for Indian companies?

One of the important drivers for any business looking to expand internationally is access to customers. London’s global connectivity and favourable time zones allow Indian companies access to customers across the world, enabling them to do business with a diverse group of people.

London is also home to a high concentration of global decision-makers. The Global Power City Index which evaluates and ranks the major cities of the world according to their power to attract people, capital, and enterprises from around the world, ranked London as the number one city for the eighth consecutive year. Unlike other destinations in Europe and the United States, London has the policymakers of Washington DC, the global financial centre of New York and the thriving start-up ecosystem of Silicon Valley, all in one city. 

For many Indian businesses and entrepreneurs, London also offers a home away from home. Our closely aligned legal systems and the use of English as the common language of business are two of the top things Indian business leaders are pleased about doing business in London.

The fact that many entrepreneurs of startups have been able to build their fortunes in London, showcases it as a city that has been at the forefront of developing ideas and inventions that help change the world. We see a plethora of opportunities for collaboration between London and India in mutually beneficial areas such as Fintech, creative industries and Artificial Intelligence.

While we are seeing huge growth of the startup ecosystem in the Indian cities of Bengaluru, New Delhi and Hyderabad, London also remains a great option for established high-flying Indian companies that want to scale rapidly. With access to more venture capital funding than any other European city, favourable R&D tax credits and one of the world’s most competitive corporation tax rates, London is the perfect place for Indian companies looking to grow exponentially.

As we look ahead to the next few years, we hope that our trade and investment relationship continues to blossom. Recognising the important contribution they make to our economy, we look forward to helping more Indian businesses and entrepreneurs join a large number of companies which have already successfully grown in London.

With the biggest Indian diaspora community in the UK and the fourth largest student population, London remains a top place for Indians looking to study, live and work there.

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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