India at the Hannover Messe

India was the partner country at this year’s Hannover Messe. The Indian subcontinent presented itself at the world’s largest industry trade fair with a great deal of confidence. According to the motto of “Make in India”, it campaigned for investments and the establishment of business cooperations –with Germany in particular. Both the potential and the challenges that lie in further development of Indo-German business relations formed the focus of a discussion round with the GIZ and Germany Trade and Invest (GTAI) in the business forum held at the trade fair. A B2B meeting between German and Indian companies formed the highlight and conclusion. A total of 45 Indian managers currently participating in the Manager Training Programme of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy in Germany also attended.

The event drew a large crowd: more than 250 company representatives, including a significant number from India, attended the discussion round in the business forum at Hannover Messe on 14 April to learn about Indo-German business cooperations and opportunities for market entry. What strategy would lead to success on the respective other market? Which intercultural differences should be borne in mind to ensure that business success is not jeopardised? Following a brief introduction by GTAI Chairman/CEO, Dr Benno Bunse, entrepreneurs from Germany and India shared first-hand accounts of their own experiences and offered tips. Experts from the GTAI then provided general economic information on the Indian and German markets. Lively discussions between the podium speakers and audience ensued. Particularly the Indian company representatives in attendance praised India as a business location and campaigned for investments. A number of discussion participants also highlighted the positive economic developments in India in the past few years, which should in turn be reflected in a more positive German view of the Indian economy – without making a secret of obvious problems, such as corruption or the state of the infrastructure.

GIZ Project Manager, Michael Emmrich, presented the Manager Training Programme of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy as an example of good practice for the establishment of business relations between companies from both countries. An Indian alumnus of the very first MP with India underlined the programme’s advantages: Vikas Jain, Director of the Bhansali Group, participated in the programme back in 2009. The MP allowed Jain to establish contact with countless German companies. In parallel, he founded the Indian alumni association together with a number of other programme graduates, which has set itself the goal of acting as a long-term contact for German companies in India and thus helping to reinforce bilateral business relations.

The fact that the MP enjoys high political esteem was made clear in the greeting by Sub-Department Head at the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, Karl Wendling. He described the MP as an important component of Indo-German business relations. Wendling emphasised that the MP particularly offers small and medium-sized companies the chance to access new sales market and to thus participate in the global exchange of goods. One further advantage of the MP lies in the lasting and long-term business contacts that are established. Wendling moreover explicitly thanked the Indian programme partners, the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), for successfully implementing the MP. He concluded by expressing the hope that German companies could in future also travel to India as part of the MP, as is already the case with the partner countries of Russia and China.

At the end of the event, the German and Indian company representatives present were given the opportunity to establish business contacts. In the GTAI’s Investment Lounge, around 45 German and 50 Indian managers exchanged business cards, held preliminary talks, and arranged follow-up meetings. The Indian managers currently participating in training in Germany as part of the MP took part in the matchmaking, too. One participant, Indian manager Parita Sanghvi, who is a partner at Empire Industries based in the West Indian city of Mumbai, has already drawn the first positive conclusions from her stay in Germany and combined this with a message to German companies: “We have visited a number of interesting German companies and are eager to enter into cooperations. We are ready and waiting for you!”