India - one of the BRICS members and the country with the second fastest growing economy, after China – has a rapidly expanding consumer class.  Being a fruitful market to trade with and being a member of the British Commonwealth, India has strong ties with UK, which means that UK companies are in a good position to take advantage of trade with India.

A few years ago business opportunities only existed in the traditional economic heartlands of Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore, but now the emerging cities of Nagpur, Ahmedabad, Chandigarh, Pune and Jaipur are other good cities to do business with. Liberalisation of the Indian economy is rapidly progressing and trade barriers are largely being removed.

India - one of the BRICS members and the country with the second fastest growing economy, after China – has a rapidly expanding consumer class.  Being a fruitful market to trade with and being a member of the British Commonwealth, India has strong ties with UK, which means that UK companies are in a good position to take advantage of trade with India.

A few years ago business opportunities only existed in the traditional economic heartlands of Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore, but now the emerging cities of Nagpur, Ahmedabad, Chandigarh, Pune and Jaipur are other good cities to do business with. Liberalisation of the Indian economy is rapidly progressing and trade barriers are largely being removed.

Huge investment potential exists in various sectors, such as life sciences, manufacturing, energy and infrastructure. India is a major exporter of information technology and Indian merchandise exports account for about 15% of GDP. The public sector is still important in the production and consumption of goods, but privatisation is gradually spreading.

The professional service and accounting firm Ernst and Young recognises India as one of the emerging biotech leaders, ranked third in the Asia-Pacific region based on the number of biotech companies in the country. The biotech companies in India have an annual growth rate of 37%, one of the highest in the world. The Indian automobile industry is strong as well: it is one of the fastest growing country automobile industries and is predicted to be among the top five vehicle producers by 2014.

There are different terms of payment which can be chosen when exporting to India. The safest mode is T.T. (Telegraphic Transfer or cash advance). The payment is received in advance from the consignee and the full set of original documents has to be sent to the buyer as per the agreed terms. Another mode of payment is the L/C (Letter of Credit). It is a guarantee, given by the buyer's bank that they will pay for the goods exported, provided that the exporter can provide a given set of documents in accordance with clauses specified in the L/C and in a timely manner. In the payment mode CAD (Cash Against Documents), you have to send the documents to the buyer through your bank and they will forward the documents to a bank in the buyer's country, along with instructions on how to collect the money from the buyer.

Choosing the payment terms and the marketing strategy to adopt in India strongly depends on the geographical area you are focusing on. India is a collection of linked markets rather than simply one large market. Successful business in India is best achieved by having a series of regional business plans which, ideally, should address the peculiar characteristics of the different Indian regions.

Language, caste and religion remain major influences over social and political organisation in India; as a consequence, accessing this market requires a coherent strategy for tackling the linguistic and cultural differences and the varying customer preferences and expectations. It is true that most people speak English, and that in India English is the second (or associate language). As such, it is the most important language for national, political and commercial communication. At the same time, however, the Indian accent might sometimes be difficult to understand and only less than 5% of the population speak English fluently. India’s official language is Hindi, which is the primary tongue of 30% of the population. Hindi has at least 13 different dialects and was chosen as the official language because of its connection with India's history before independence rather than because it was the most commonly spoken language. The Indian constitution recognises 15 official languages and, in addition, a multitude of other languages and dialects are spoken in the country.

HSBC has developed a good app to solve any business doubt or curiosity when on the move: HSBC Commercial Banking Country Guides. It is a free app available on iTunes which gives access to HSBC Country Guides, a set of business guides which provide useful and relevant information on how to do business in a number of developed and emerging markets around the world, India included.