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Business envoy July 2021

Go west – the case for moving into the Indian market

It has been a difficult few months for India. The second wave of COVID-19 has had a notable impact on predictions for India’s economic recovery. The IMF, for instance, has revised its expectations for Indian growth from 10.1 per cent to 8.3 per cent for the current financial year.

But signs are pointing towards recovery. It is worth noting that 8.3 per cent growth, if fulfilled, would make India the fastest recovering among major economies. With a recovery underway, India will continue to be a promising market for Australian businesses.

Long-term, India remains one of the fastest growing economies in the world supported by a young, aspirational and tech savvy consumer base. India’s urbanisation, rising incomes and industrial activity are driving huge demand across many sectors, including premium food and beverages, health and lifestyle products services and technology.

The Indian Government is driving a reform agenda. This includes substantial infrastructure spending and asset sales, banking reform, labour market, education and agricultural reform, as well as measures to improve ease of doing business and incentives to encourage foreign investment. In partnership with Austrade and other Australian Government agencies, DFAT will endeavour to assist Australian firms to take advantage of opportunities opened up by this reform agenda.

Education, which is a key pillar of the India Australia bilateral relationship due to its usefulness as a soft power lever, has been elevated by India’s new National Education Policy. This policy actively seeks to internationalise India’s education system, encouraging international players into the market and building regulatory architecture based on the best from other countries.

All this is supported by bilateral ties which have never been stronger. The announcement of the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership by Prime Ministers Morrison and Modi last year elevated this relationship to new heights. There is strong will on both sides to see the relationship continue to strengthen, including on the economic front. This commitment should come as comfort to businesses at a time when unfettered trade free from broader geopolitical events can no longer be assumed.

Busy street in Kolkata, India. Image credit: iStock

Australia India Business Exchange

To support more Australian and Indian business partnerships, the Australian Government has launched the Australia India Business Exchange (AIBX) program.

AIBX provides a range of services to support Australian businesses to enter and establish in India – from industry specific insights to guidance on doing business with India and entering India’s online retail market.

To find out more on AIBX and to participate in AIBX events, visit

Key sectors of opportunity

Australia’s clean, green agrifood products are in rising demand among Indian consumers. Changes in consumer habits are creating new avenues to the India market, particularly through e-commerce channels. Indian food-processing companies are looking for partners, and tight regulation on wholesale markets is being relaxed and opening up opportunities for Australian firms.

India’s healthcare sector is growing rapidly, driven by rising incomes, increased health awareness and easier access to insurance. India needs affordable and accessible healthcare solutions that can be delivered at scale, creating opportunities for Australia’s digital health and medical technology companies.

India continues to prioritise the rapid development of its infrastructure under its National Infrastructure Pipeline. Opportunities for Australian firms lie in the built environment, road safety, rail and water infrastructure.

Privatisation and policy reform are transforming India’s mining and resources sector. Domestic demand is expected to remain strong, offering opportunities for Australian minerals exports. Australia’s mining, equipment and technology capabilities can support productivity gains in India’s mining sector.

For further information on the Australian Economic Strategy, published by the Confederation of Indian Industry in December 2020, and 2018 India Economic Strategy to 2035, also provide useful guidance on opportunities in India.

Success in India: Acusensus’ story

Road safety company Acusensus is on a mission to reduce road deaths globally – and it recently cracked the Indian market. Key success factors included:

  • Finding a local partner with shared corporate values
  • Designing a market-specific solution
  • Having patience in the process
  • Leveraging local connections

‘I think India provides a really unique opportunity to make an impact with our technology’ says Alexander Jannink, Acusensus Managing Director. ‘It is a market that is in some ways challenging…but its also a market that is eager to work with Australian companies.’

Guides and barries on Indian higways. Image credit: Acusensus

India has a high rate of road accidents, with an estimated 299,000 road deaths per year, according to the World Health Organisation. Meanwhile, Acusensus was keen to enter the market.

Over several years, Austrade arranged introductions to well-placed Indian federal and state government officials. In early 2021, Acusensus’s first deployment in India went live, after three years of planning and negotiation.

‘Winning this important contract would not have been possible without Austrade’s advice and support,’ says Ravin Mirchandani, Acusensus Chairman.

The Indian Government has installed a ‘road safety corridor’ along a 30-kilometre stretch of road modelled on an Australian road corridor, as part of the Tamil Nadu Road Sector Project. Acusensus has now deployed a speed-enforcement system along the corridor. It comprises radar-based mobile speed enforcement camera trailers and fixed installations.

In partnership with Ador, India’s largest provider of traffic safety and enforcement solutions, Acusensus developed the solution for the Indian market. It requires minimal power and no fibre optic data cables. Acusensus also worked closely with SaveLIFE Foundation, an Indian not-for-profit working to improve road safety.

‘By being involved on the ground innovating for and with India, we believe we can make a huge difference in starting to bring down the road toll,’ says Jannink. ‘We also hope this will open doors for other model safety corridor projects that can involve other Australian companies.’

Guides and barries on Indian higways. Image credit: Acusensus
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