Demographic changes could create a new era of UK-India relations

Nov 20, 2018

As the UK prepares to leave the EU and India looks to fulfil its potential, there’s a golden opportunity for UK-India business relations. New analysis from PwC finds India needs to create approximately 100 million new employment opportunities over the coming decade to meet the needs of its young and growing population.

A major attraction to India for UK businesses is its pace of expansion and the country’s young demographic.  India’s 1.3 billion-strong population has a median age of 27, and includes a large, educated workforce that’s young, skilled and progressive.  

Already the world’s sixth largest economy, PwC projects India will rise to second place by 2050 in purchasing power parity terms. India is also a world leader in high-value, high-tech industries, ranking third in the world for active ‘unicorns’, startups valued at over US$1bn.

UK businesses have already invested £17.5 billion in India since 2000 and employed almost 800,000 people. As London remains Europe’s largest stock exchange, the UK continues to be a great source of capital to fund the growth of Indian companies. With the UK preparing to leave the EU, Indian firms also see opportunity for new trade deals.

Sunil Patel, chair of the UK India group at PwC UK, commented:

“What makes the business relationship between the UK and India unique is our shared history, culture and ways of doing business which have developed over centuries. In the UK this is embodied by the ‘living bridge’, the Indian diaspora whose achievements and acumen help to cement the strong ties between the two countries.

“This same common culture and understanding helps UK businesses enter the Indian marketplace. The UK’s working age population is projected to decline due to an ageing population, but India’s expanding and educated young workforce could provide an answer for businesses looking to grow.”

Data from the UK India Business Council reveals India is routinely among the UK’s top five inward investors and Indian goods exports to the UK have almost quadrupled since 2000.

Richard Heald, OBE, CEO at the UK India Business Council, said:

“The UK and India are at an exciting phase in their economic relationship. Bilateral economic ties are vibrant and wide-ranging, and, commercially, there is untapped potential between the two economies. At this time of global economic uncertainty and change, there are opportunities to nurture, grow and sustain two-way flows of trade and investment.”

Vaidison Krishnamurty, UK business group leader at PwC India, added:

“Our findings are reflected by the sentiment of business leaders around the world. Our CEO survey found India is in the top five most attractive markets for deal activity, emphasising the country’s increasing international appeal. This is mirrored by Indian CEOs, with nearly half of those taking part in the survey planning a new strategic alliance, showing appetite for collaboration with international businesses.”

For more information please visit PwC's UK India group website here

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