Identifying niche opportunities in an evolving India

'Flying with the Winged Elephant: Niche themes that may emerge in India for global businesses' looks at some niche business themes that might emerge in a reviving India for the interest of global businesses.

Feb 24, 2015
Book: “Flying with the Winged Elephant: Niche themes that may emerge in India for global businesses” - By Sourajit Aiyer
“Flying with the Winged Elephant: Niche themes that may emerge in India for global businesses” looks at some niche business themes that might emerge in a reviving India for the interest of global businesses.
Knowledge First is the corporate mantra of the company the author works for - Motilal Oswal Financial Services (*see Disclaimer in E-Book). The stress is on utilizing knowledge as the foundation for creating growth and building an enterprise, and this thought process was a motivator. Another observation that motivated the author was a speech by Narendra Modi, now India’s prime minister, at Delhi’s Shri Ram College of Commerce during the campaigning for the federal elections in early-2014. He believed that the 21st century could be India’s century. Whenever the world had moved into periods of knowledge throughout its history, India had played a leading role through its contributions in sciences, mathematics and economics.
Based on the above observations, the criticality of knowledge for achieving growth and leadership is clear. However, conveying that knowledge is as critical as gaining it, especially when partners are needed to help realize the results. The objective of this E-Book is to identify some of the niche opportunities that might emerge in an evolving and reviving India, why such these niche theme have an underlying rationale, possible solutions to their implementation challenges, some qualitative trends that support the opportunity, and convey that knowledge for the interest of global partners for investments or collaborations. Some of them convey the areas where participation can be sought, while some convey learnings that global businesses might find useful.
Most of these opportunities are such wherein India has the resources and talent to build its competitive advantage in the long-term, and that should validate the rationale for foreign investors to make long-term commitments to India. It leverages India not only as a mass-consumer, but also as a mass-producer to utilize global sourcing opportunities into other countries. Some of the opportunities may also motivate India and its critical neighbours to maintain harmonious relations for common economic benefit, and economics can often achieve what others cannot.
The themes are sector-agnostic, and include manufacturing as well as services segments. Moreover, most are niche themes that are likely to emerge within broad sectors, and that makes the opportunity more focused for prospective stakeholders. The themes cut across broad sectors like food, tourism, education, media, infrastructure, engineering, offshoring, consultancy, waterways, renewables, housing, e-commerce and retirement. One should also recall that the language of business in India is English, since the legal system is largely based on British common-law. This might make it easier to global businesses, as compared to other peers in the emerging economy universe.
The quirky title is intentional. India has often been characterized by the ‘Elephant’ vis a vis ‘Dragon’ for China. India’s evolving socio-economic profile, coupled with expectations of revival, can create niche opportunities. These can boost growth and help the elephant to race ahead, hence the usage of ‘Wings’. The usage of ‘Flying’ is to convey to global businesses that they could benefit from this growth, by actively partnering in these opportunities.
For global businesses, the benefits include increased demand for their specialized services, investments into high-growth pools of opportunity, demand for intellectual capital and manufactured inputs, ability to develop products more relevant for India’s cultural specificities, etc. For India, the benefits include business and income opportunities, creation of future assets to assist growth, deepening of export capabilities, and a fill-up to employment and entrepreneurship. Large-scale employment is a necessity, since India’s growth story hasn’t been inclusive so far. Some of the themes may relate to small businesses, but it is these very small businesses that can become large in a growing economy and help expand the corporate base. India’s journey following the 1990s reforms saw several such examples.
Indian businesses have also matured, as the recent slowdown made them more adaptable and realigned business models and management practices. The bottom line is – India is evolving and expected to revive. This scenario can throw up niche themes, and global businesses should look to participate in them.
The E-book has been published by Libertas European Institut GmbH, a Germany-based organization engaged in economics and political consultancy. It is available in both E-book and Print version from (ISBN: E-book 978-3-937642-53-6, Print 978-3-937642-54-3), and a Kindle version will release soon on Amazon.
(Sourajit Aiyer is a finance professional in India. He can be contacted at

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