telecom, aviation, & retail in India

Tuesday 21 July, 2009

The US-India Chamber of Commerce-Midwest organized the 5th annual  conference U.S. INDIA BUSINESS CONFERENCE – FOCUS ON TELECOM, AVIATION AND RETAIL Illinois Governor Pat Quinn made an appearance to kick-off the event & indicated he’d be more like former Governor Jim Thompson & open more foreign trade offices rather than close them down like Jim Edgar did.

Douglas Adler of Vedder Price opened with his presentation on Indian aviation. 06-25-09 USICC FINAL The panel consisted of Raj Sidhu of American Airlines, Sami Khaja of Jet Airways,  Sanjay Tiwari of KLM, & Savio Dias of Kingfisher Airlines.  The panel yielded this SWOT analysis:

  • Strengths-India is a growing economy, is a leader in manufacturing of commodities (garments & pharma), & India comes back well
  • Weaknesses-infrastructure is not keeping up with growth & logistics in cargo takes days rather than hours
  • Opportunities-many are bullish on India, the volume of Indian flyers & codeshare agreements with US airlines are increasing, the US-India neclear deal is reassuring,
  • T-India is surrounded by unstable neighbors & terrorism

Jack Ablin’s (Chief Investment Officer, Harris Private Bank) global markets update offered the following:

  • Indian markets follow global trade
  • emerging markets are doing well relative to S&P, but valuations are an issue
  • the # of cell phones sold in India indicates the emerging middle class

Aradhana Goel of Ideo moderated the retail panel of Gaurav Bhuwan of Tanishq USA, L.N. Balajii, ITC Infotech, & Gunjan Bagla of Amritt:

  • consumer demand-while in the US & Europe a few spend more, in India many spend a little.  Culture is important, which is driven by tradition (ex. weddings).  India has many dual-income couples who can’t cook & don’t have microwaves, so they outsource their food preparation to someone else in the neighborhood.
  • rural segment-$1TR market, 2/3 of private consumption, 70% of population.  There are 3.5 M retail outlets in 600K villages, 87% of which have populations of 2000 or fewer.
  • Indian consumers are not American consumers.  The western veneer surrounds an Indian core, so product must be modifed to reflect this.

The telecom panel of Dr. Surech Borkar & IIT-Chicago & Dr. Vikram Saksena of Tellabs, (moderated by Anil Kimar-Virtus Global Partners) was held during lunch, so it wasn’t quite as focused as the other panels:

  • India had 30M wireless subscribers in Y2K, are adding 15M/month (the populations of New York City) to 450M now, & expects 1B by 2012.
  • Cell phones have changed the social fabric-fishermen now earn twice as much by finding better prices with mobile phones.
  • India offers the lowest RPU-(revenue per user) in the world, perhaps because Indian consumers are more concerned about prices than dropped calls.
  • Rather than all-you-can-eat like here in the US, Indians pay per use, so services can be monetized.
  • India adheres to a relationship selling model, so foreigners can’t get an audience with buyers-use local partners to leverage local talent.

I requested the presentations of the organizers but haven’t received them yet.



  1. I think the “U.S. INDIA BUSINESS CONFERENCE – FOCUS ON TELECOM, AVIATION AND RETAIL” is beneficial for both U.S. & India, because India is a big source of retail marketers.

  2. […] See the rest here: telecom, aviation, & retail in India « global american technology … […]

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