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IBI Consultants pose with on-site workers at an infrastructure project site in India. (Narayanan Madhavan)
IBI Consultants pose with on-site workers at an infrastructure project site in India. (Narayanan Madhavan)

Your Business Abroad

Investing in India's infrastructure Add to ...

India’s fast-growing commercial economy is powered by a strong sense of ambition. However, there are times when this ambition clashes with reality.

For IBI Group, a Canadian business with a small team in India, turning this divide into an opportunity is one of its goals.

Toronto-based IBI is a consulting firm specializing in urban planning, transportation, and facilities design.

The company’s 20-member team in India is eyeing a range of opportunities as the country looks to modernize urban areas, ports, and transportation networks in an effort to support its strong emerging economy.

“We saw India as a great opportunity,” says Deepak Darda, a senior consultant at IBI in India.

Like many other emerging economies, improving infrastructure is the key to maintaining steady growth in India. However, behind the scenes of major infrastructure projects lie complex layers of logistical interaction between businesses, banks, engineers and contractors.

One of IBI’s major functions is to act as a hub through which all of these interactions can be made more efficient and cost-effective for its clients.

One of IBI’s new projects is ‘Science City’ in Navi Mumbai, a satellite city of India’s financial capital. IBI competed against 24 companies from around the world for the $50-million (U.S.) contract.

As with any market, India is unique. Here are some things to keep in mind if your business is looking to India for new ventures:

- An abundance of skilled experts means that clients can sometimes misjudge how much of a consultant’s time they really have. “The expectation of the client is you are available all the time,” Mr. Darda observes. “It is a cultural thing.” Be sure to set the expectations – both yours and that of your client – upfront to avoid misunderstandings later on.

- Take care in setting the price for your expertise. “You have to keep in mind that this is a very price-sensitive market,” Mr. Darda observes. Billing clients involves careful planning. While fees based on the number of hours devoted to a project is standard, estimations of fees in long-term projects need to be done with care.

- Patience is key.

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