Thinking @ doing business in India? What Next?

doing-business-in-indiaAuthor: Ravi V. Patil, India Director of INDOLINK Consulting

“India is doing great. Nobody talks about it.” Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said in an interview with CNN on Monday 27th Jan.16. His statement carries particular importance knowing his views accusing several countries taking advantage of US particularly China. Steadily, India has overtaken China as fastest growing economy currently with @7.5% growth rate.

 When I meet overseas business delegates during this trips to India, one of the questions I normally ask is “Is this your first trip to India?” and the answer could be: Yes or 2nd, 3rd, 4th…  More than 50% of these delegates, this is their 2nd to 3th  visit to India during last 2-3 years and the purpose is exploring the possibility of doing business in India. They read the news: India offers very good opportunities, its vast market size, its growth rate etc. but at the same time, they read about  bureaucracy, delays and difficulties faced by some of the businessmen who tried it before. It creates a dilemma in their mind- to be or not to be and hence 2nd trip and more trips…  After 2-3 trips they realize that some players had taken the decision to start and now they are settled and doing great.

Read the rest of this entry »

7 reasons why Joint Ventures fail in India


joint ventures in IndiaThe joint venture is often considered the first option when the idea of doing business in India arises. Nevertheless, the experience proves that these associations rarely reach the expected goals and results. In most cases it turns out on traumatic experiences and failure for at least one of the partners (usually the foreigner).

There are logical reasons why foreign companies consider advantageous to join local Indian partners: lack of local knowledge –bureaucracy, market dynamics, business culture, management styles, labour laws…- quick access to the local market –due to distribution networks and customer portfolio of the local partner, and immediate availability of starting infrastructure –land, manufacturing plant, licenses and operation already going on-. For all this, the local partner is expected to pave the way for an easier, quicker and safer or lower investment.

This approach may seem logical a priori, but instead, we eventually find out that in many cases these assumptions prove wrong. Us in INDOLINK, after years of helping foreign enterprises to enter the Indian market, find the following main reasons that lead the joint ventures to fail: Read the rest of this entry »

What our Customers say about us


“Looking back to my first visit to India more than 10 years ago, the feeling is almost melancholic. Although it seems just like yesterday, there have been many travels during this time and countless experiences lived.

Our start in India and our work during all this time, has always been attached to INDOLINK, and in this 10th Anniversary we would like to sincerely thank their effort, their professionalism and the commitment that they have proved to us all the way until this day. Without them our set up in India wouldn’t have been possible. For our company, this setup has meant a huge opportunity, and with everyone’s effort, they have made difficult look easy.

Congratulations and well done. – Aristides Maurel, CEO (MIJU S.A.)

” Our experience working with INDOLINK dates back to 2011, when Aernnova Group decided to open an engineering office in India. Although we had in our record some past experiences in countries like USA and Brazil, we understood that, given the singularity of the country and our intention to outsource the accounting, tax and labour departments, it was crucial for us to find a consultancy company that could provide us all the needed support in the mentioned areas, as well as a close collaborator that could take our working method and our needs, making it all compatible with the regulations and the formal requirements of the country; something like our authorized representative in specific matters in India.

At this point, we have not only achieved to have this type of service through our understanding with INDOLINK, but we have also felt a collaborative spirit beyond that of the contractual agreement ; they have worked closely in all the issues that we have put forward, showing great professionalism and promptness in their replies throughout all this time.

Our impression is that INDOLINK knows very well the needs and sensations of the foreign companies located in India. This gives way to a ready communication and, for this, making progress in a country like India becomes easy”. – Patxi Molás (AERNNOVA)

“I find Indolink a supportive company for the internationalization of companies in India. The knowledge that Indolink has about the legal barriers that usually the foreigner companies find in their arrival, help them to overcome succesfully the first and hard steps in our adoptive country. The continous communication and advice from Indolink team is the best guaranty to have an efective landing in India.” – Fernando Rueda (HINE India)

“INDOLINK is making it possible for us to set up the subsidiary of HIDROAMBIENTE in India, EVERBLUE. INDOLINK is nowadays our trusted counselor in India.” – Miguel Iturbe (EVERBLUE/HIDROAMBIENTE)

We would like to thank you & the Indolink team for all the wonderful support throughout this year, and we look forward for your extended support in the future. – Giridaran Srinivasan (Zigor India)


Interview of Santosh Deshmukh, Project Manager in INDOLINK

This year is INDOLINK’s 10th Anniversary. For that reason we have interviewed some of our team members to know them a bit better.vlcsnap-00004

Santosh Deshmukh is the Vendor Development Manager in INDOLINK and operates from Pune office.  He has studied Industrial engineering. He is working with INDOLINK for more than 9 years. He has been closely involved in various set-up projects. We have interviewed him to know his experience about working with INDOLINK.

When did you start working for INDOLINK? And the reason why you decided to join?

I joined on 7th March 2005 as Jr. engineer in vendor development dept. Initially INDOLINK was named as Mai Sourcing and we were more focused on automotive rubber parts development, procurement and supply to Miju SA.

The activity I use to perform initially was a sort of repetitive work ‘’Inspection’’ which I decided to end up and look a sort of job where I could learn new things other than inspection. Hence I got a opportunity to work in vendor development department where I developed skills like vendor assessment, costing, and many more.

What he been the major set up projects you/INDOLINK have handled?

The major set up projects executed by Indolink are Miju india Pune plant, Bellota at Sinnar, Gamesa at Chennai, Windar in Gujarat.

Major set up projects that  I have handled is Bellota, where I was involved in each and every activity closely like from land identification & acquisition, Architect, civil contractor and other agency finalization, procurement (steel, cement, etc for building) raw material (boron steel billets) process equipments procurement install and commission, etc. . It was the first experience set up industrial project for me all new things and I really learned a lot from this project.

I was involved in Windar project as well where I was more focused on equipment procurement, installation and commissioning part but was also active in other activities like land identification, architect search and assessment, recruitment, licenses, etc. The most critical task was to convert the land from residential Non-agricultural to Industrial Non-agricultural, as the factory construction was started and to get 12 km 33 Kva HT electricity line for Bellota which we monitored closely and we got it by passing various hurdles.

What are the major challenges you face while working on projects, both from Indian companies(contractors, govt. agencies etc…) as well as the foreign companies/customers?

The major challenges faced while working with foreign companies are mostly the language communication & pronunciations. It also happens that some contractor representatives commits but do not fulfill the commitment for some or other reason which leads to frustrations as the foreigners are not so use to commit false dates. On most of the Indian site activities safety norms are not thoroughly followed which is strange for foreign companies.

Tell us something about the internal working culture of INDOLINK.

The working culture in Indolink is really very good. Its a free working environment and everyone tries to give 100% to fulfill customer demands/ requirements. There is no typical Indian working culture like proprietorship, one man company/single decision maker, boss, assistant, personal assistant, etc. Everyone works as a team and shares all the knowledge gathered/ gained. We have strong quality system, IT infrastructure etc… so there is no any hidden process whatever we do is transparent.


Interview of Ravi Patil, Director of INDOLINK India

Ravi Patil, Director of INDOLINK India

Ravi Patil, Director of INDOLINK India

Ravi Patil is Partner and Director of  INDOLINK India. With his immense experience, he is handling many international customers interested in setting-up their businesses in India. We have interviewed him to learn about his experience.

How did you decide to start INDOLINK?

The idea of starting INDOLINK is the brainchild of Mario. Around that time I also started my own company called Mai Sourcing, focused on helping European companies source from India. Mario and me knew each other since few years from Rinder where we worked together. So later on we decided to join hands and we created the subsidiary of INDOLINK in India, mai INDOLINK Consulting Pvt. Ltd.

Which have been the major problems faced so far?

I would say the major problem so far was and still is (even today) how to make International companies believe that India is a very good potential market. Things appear difficult, time consuming, bureaucratic etc…, and they are. But with a medium-long term strategy it is possible to access that potential market. And with our experience we can make the process of doing business in India smooth and less complicated.

Which have been the most challenging projects?

Each project is challenging because each customer is from a different sector. So, each time there are new things to learn, we face new challenges and we have to make it happen. Personally, I would say the most challenging projects have been the setup of BELLOTA’s manufacturing plant in Nasik and GAMESA-MADE in Chennai.

Bellota because of its scope of activities, the difficulties faced while obtaining government approvals, electricity, etc. And Gamesa because of its tight time schedule. We had the task of making a plant ready for operations within a span of just 4 months from the moment we got possession of the factory. Almost complete factory was renovated, permissions obtained and plant started operating exactly the date planned (19th July 2008).

Which is the most valuable asset of the company now in your opinion?

The most valuable asset for INDOLINK is its people: our team and customers. It’s our team who has the knowledge and experience to handle the projects effectively. And they are satisfied customers who make more customers approach us.

How has been the experience in the last ten years?

Wonderful! A lot of learning, the opportunity to interact with customers with different views… Every project is a creation. Every set up project is a rare and unique chance to experience a concept/strategy being developed into reality. In every market research project we get a chance to learn new things. Our knowledge is constantly building up. I think this is a rare type of activity where we earn and learn simultaneously. It is an enriching experience.

How do you see INDOLINK in next ten years?

As a reference company in the activities related to helping companies establish and operate businesses in India. Building knowledge and eager to add value to our customers.

Which are the challenges that you have faced working with foreign companies?

The major challenge that we have face is understanding customers perceptions, their expectations about going to new country, the ideas they have about setting up the business, etc. And then analyzing the requirements, thinking about the best strategy and explaining it to customers.

Another challenge is to make the customer confident that they can leave the responsibility of setting up and administrative tasks on INDOLINK so that they can focus on what they really know, their core activities. We are very committed to our customer’s success but it’s not always easy to transmit that they can trust us totally. Building trust takes time. But once we start working closely, customers experience our reliability and things become smooth.

What are your expectations of growth of Indian economy?

Indian economy is bound to grow for a period of at least next 20- 25 years. I expect the growth rate to be >5% throughout these years. There is a significant gap between developed countries and India. India would like to reduce/bridge this gap. Indian people are becoming conscious about their responsibility towards the nation. This was evident in the increase in % of voting in the recent national elections. People of India has elected a government whose agenda is based in grown and development. Growing middle class, growth of educated population and the desire of people for a better way of life will act as accelerators to growth and will help it sustain for many years to come.

How is INDOLINK different from other consultants?

I would say INDOLINK is different from other consultants mainly because of two aspects: our comprehensive portfolio of services and the value we add to our customers.

Our ranges of services include everything from the initial strategic planning to all activities related to setting up the business, and the subsequent legal and administrative requirements (accounting, secretarial services, taxes, etc). As far as I know there are hardly any consultancy companies offering such wide range of services.

Offering a real added value to our customer is our philosophy. Our clients say “once we hand over the task to INDOLINK we don’t have to look into them. They will ensure everything is taken care of, we rely on them.” We treat our customer’s project as our OWN. Our commitment is total. In our opinion it’s the only way for success.

Interview to Mario Gil, Director of INDOLINK

Interview to Naiara Alonso, Consultant in INDOLINK


Interview to Mario Gil, Director of INDOLINK

“I think we are not vocationally consultants but hope to be trustworthy counsellors.”


Mario Gil, Director of INDOLINK

Mario Gil is Founder and Director of INDOLINK. Mario arrived in India in 1997 to lead the first international set up of the Spanish automotive manufacturer, RINDER. He was only 28 years old and spent the next 7 years living and working in India. In 2004, after succeeding in the set up of Rinder, he started his new project of assisting other foreign companies to set up in India and created INDOLINK. We have interviewed him to learn about his experience.

How did you decide to start INDOLINK?

Between 1997 and 2004 I worked as expatriate Director for RINDER, a Spanish automotive lights manufacturer, setting up their plant in India. This subsidiary was very successful, not only in terms of profits and return on investment, but in various other aspects which had a highly positive effect in the parent company’s performance. I could see that India offered a huge potential for many other Spanish companies, which could derive similar benefits from setting up their business in India.

At the same time, establishing RINDER India was not easy at all. In the process, we had to overcome many obstacles and faced some really difficult times. I learnt a lot from that experience and thought that this was a valuable asset I could offer to other companies willing to establish operations in India.

On top of that, I could see that Spanish companies were already struggling with the growing competition from Low Cost Countries and many were at a grave risk of going bankrupt if they didn’t drastically improve, which is extremely tough in a mature or declining market. I believed India offered them a low cost manufacturing base where they could improve their cost structure, while developing a decisive competitive edge in other areas.

Which have been the major problems faced so far? Read the rest of this entry »

Interview to Naiara Alonso, consultant at INDOLINK

“With the correct strategy and proper assistance, India can be a very profitable market in the medium and long term”

This year is INDOLINK’s 10th Anniversary. For that reason we have interviewed some of our team members to know them a bit better.

Naiara-2Naiara Alonso is consultant at INDOLINK and works mainly from our Bilbao office (Spain). She studied Business Administration in the University of Mondragón and will soon take up another important challenge: being a mother for the first time. We have interviewed her to know her experience about working in India and with INDOLINK.

When did you start working for INDOLINK? And why did you decide to join us?

I joined INDOLINK in May 2008. I already knew Mario (Founder and Director of INDOLINK) and Ravi (partner and Director INDOLINK India) since 2001 when I spent almost a year working as a trainee in Rinder India (Pune). That was the first time I went to India and I must say the experience was really positive and the country captured me with all its good and bad things. After that year I worked in the field of Cooperation for Development in South America and Africa for 6 years. In 2008, due to some funny coincidence I met Mario again and had the chance to join INDOLINK and I did it. I was happy to start working with India once again and with a team that I already knew partly.

How tough is the task of encouraging Spanish companies to invest in India?
Read the rest of this entry »