Our India meets Britain Tracker report identifies the contribution that Indian companies make to the UK economy. At the launch webinar, we highlighted the ones making a difference in Britain.
On 7 May 2020, over 200 business leaders in the UK and India attended our webinar to launch our India meets Britain Tracker report about the latest trends of Indian investment in the UK. Watch our webinar to learn which Indian companies are the fastest-growing in the UK, as well as the top Indian employers.
India meets Britain Tracker report
Despite an unsettled environment for business over the past year, Indian companies continued to make a significant contribution to the UK economy. Anuj Chande summarises our India meets Britain Tracker 2020, which delivers strong evidence of the enduring partnership between the two countries.
After the session, attendees were offered the chance to ask questions of our experts and guests. We have summarised some of the questions below.
The concerns raised by Indian companies match those raised by their peers, in terms of need for cash and funding support, and operational challenges brought by lockdown, including lack of availability of labour in the workplace, logistical issues on shipment, lack of capabilities in technology, etc.
The UK recovery, just like elsewhere in the world, is going to be a long process and the government will need to provide continued support to all businesses, including Indian-owned ones. The recent government announcement to extend the furlough scheme to October is a step in the right direction and similar extensions may be required for other existing government support.
It is not easy to predict the sectors where growth will come from as the Indian economy itself will be resetting as well. However, it is reasonable to assume that the top growth sectors coming from India will remain technology and telecoms, pharmaceuticals and chemicals, and engineering and manufacturing.
The numbers are pre-pandemic. We expect the numbers next year to be marginally impacted and the full impact could be observed in subsequent years.
There is a possibility that the pandemic would lead to greater isolationism and protection of domestic businesses, but we live in a global world where customers and suppliers are international and agile, and the need to think and act globally will continue to remain and grow.
Questions were also directed at Rishabh Gupta, Head of UK and Ireland, OYO Rooms.
At the end of March, OYO announced that it would keep over 2,000 rooms across the UK open to key workers and those in need of interim accommodation, with the option of significantly increasing this capacity according to the need. Fixed-rate accommodation was offered from £25 per night when staying seven nights or more, or from £32 per night for shorter stays. Rates were not set with profitability in mind. Our prime concern was how we could help ‘the cause’ and also our partners, each of which is a small business that’s integral in some way to its community and also wants to survive through this pandemic. We have seen over 50,000 room nights booked for government-approved purposes since the UK lockdown began.
We will continue to service the community. Now, with manufacturing and construction businesses in England being encouraged to resume operations, OYO has pledged to make further rooms available and extend its long-stay accommodation rates for essential workers. We have already opened another 1200+ rooms across various cities in the UK to support the cause at similar price points.
Yes. UK remains a key market and we are looking to sustainably grow in the near future. Long term, we want to be one of the largest budget hotel brands in the UK. With over 200+ hotels currently in the portfolio, we have a very strong foundation.
For companies looking to set up in the UK, the following need to be carefully considered:
Setting up the right team
Our learning is that ensuring a good mix between local talent and talent from the HQ can considerably help in building the right foundation. The local talent brings the local knowledge and know-how, and talent from HQ can bring the right organisation values. However, it is important that local hires are aligned to the company values and the HQ transferees can adapt themselves in a multicultural/diverse setup.
The UK brings a very different cost structure to the equation and being mindful that setting up in a market like the UK may need more investment is important. Investing too little sometimes doesn't help you break the market and investing too much may result in negative ROI. A small pilot can help understand the real cost-structures basis through which a business plan and investment requirements can be better understood.
Ashish Gupta, Head of EMEA and Corporate VP at HCL Technologies, also answered questions from the audience.
At this stage, we think that COVID-19 may be a short-term crisis, but will be a medium- to long-term opportunity for our clients to take more tech into their operations. Given this, we have three clear principles that we are using to navigate the crisis:
1 Employees continue to be at the heart of what we do
2 Standing firm with our clients in this time and helping them tide over the crisis
3 Working with the Prince’s Trust to enable marginalised youth especially during COVID-19
We work with a lot of police forces in the UK and enable the police constables on the street with mobility solutions, which make their work easier and faster. We are working with our clients in the forces to enable them to:
- Move away from classroom briefing to briefing directly on mobile devices
- Audio/video-enabled witness statements and risk assessments
- Secure video-enabled process to transform domestic violence investigations
- Inclusion of COVID-19 markers in the mobile solutions
- COVID-19 forms
Conserve cash. Some people with very small reserves have been thinking about acquisitions as they're available cheaply. I would not advise that people play that game. This crisis among all will demand that 'cash is king'.
Focus on propositions where you have examples and use cases that ideally:
- Help reduce costs
- Increase the ability of a client to function remotely
- Increase customer digital (ie, enable customers to sell services with a digital wrapper)
Anticipate that this will go longer than anyone thinks and, hence, it's important to pace yourself over time, or else, it’s the perfect environment to become despondent.
I believe that every crisis is an opportunity. This is another massive opportunity for HCL and other India-based IT companies to accelerate in helping clients transform. With our collaborative client relationships, which have been built over long periods of time, our ability to scale expertise even in the newest age of skills, and our ability to do it at a far higher value than most IT companies can globally, there is no reason this crisis won’t be like 2008/2009, when the next few years after the downturn were the best for the industry as we had a lot playing for us. This crisis will be even more helpful for the Indian IT sector to become more global, local and scale.