India: High on infrastructure growth, but needs wings.
The India NZ Business Council [INZBC], held the ‘India Unplugged’ talk series, at ARA Institute, Christchurch on 22 Feb
2018. The series calls upon speakers who have experience in the Indian market, or operate in that space to share their
views, experiences and concerns with other kiwi businesses.
Jo Pennycuick, Global Managing Director, Redesign Group was the key note speaker, sharing her experiences of working in
the Indian market.
Jo spoke about the fact that even though India is a vast market, making relationships is the key. “Know your market. if
you are entering India then carry out your research and target the region that you feel your business will be most
She further added that New Zealand being 17 hours away on a flight, with a 7 hours in time difference between India & NZ, its not easy to manage from here.
Redesign group has offices in 29 countries and have delivered about 3,400 successful design projects globally. They are
the main team behind the redesign of some major infrastructure projects in India, like Chandigarh International Airport,
Delhi T3, Bangalore, Chandigarh, Hyderabad and Mumbai airports.
Speaking on the best way to manage this time gap and difference in culture, she said, “To make your business sustainable
and if you are fully committed to the country then it is best to have a team located in the city you are doing most of
your business. Face to face meetings is always beneficial so having a local representative is best to maintain
relationships and custom. We have been successfully able to create relations on the ground, from business colleagues to
in territory contractors and consultants”.
She also added that communication was key to success, for coordinating with teams, across the globe. Jo added, “Indians
love New Zealand, both in the beauty of the country but also in business dealings. We are often told that we do what we
say and deliver quality in a good time frame. We teach our local teams the Kiwi way of business and train our designers
to the New Zealand building code.”
“India holds plenty of opportunity. It is a large country to persue. Focus on a region, commit to your clients by having
a good base and most importantly love India”, that was the mantra given by Jo, to the attending delegates.
The second speaker was from the aviation sector, Gareth Williamson. Gareth is the Airline Development Manager at
Christchurch International Airport and leads airline passenger and airfreight development at the airport.
“Low cost carriers are seeing the most growth, specially in India & China. Though there is a lot of potential to grow, high border entry costs are of concern”, said Gareth.
Gareth has had an extensive career in aviation and tourism, having started his career in Christchurch before spending
time in Australia and 5 years in Auckland in various airline management roles, before returning to Christchurch in early
2016. Gareth lives & breathes aviation, and has a particular interest in the role airlines play in geopolitics, as well as technical
He said, there has been a massive growth within domestic & regional traffic thanks to rapid expansion of LCCs like Indigo, Spicejet & Vistara. There has been a combined order book of nearly 1000 aircrafts.
However, to grow more, he said, “Indian government must allow India’s network carriers to operate free of constraining
regulations around growth and ownership – and to ease border costs for travelers.”
As compared to China, the India market has more potential for growth, as it has not matured yet. However, the absence of
any direct flights, does hit the market. That’s where the route economics come to play.
Gareth believes that the future is bright. He adds, “with the current trade agreements underway, it will significantly
strengthen trade between NZ & India. Also, while air traffic is currently best served indirectly (via South East Asia), direct services are on the
India is viewed favourably by NZ Government and Tourism NZ who invest in the market. Also, the Aircraft technology is
allowing longer, ‘thinner’ routes to be developed.
INZBC Christchurch Chapter head, Hitesh Sharma, said it was great to have this meeting of local businesses, who came in
good number to be part of this event. “there is a lot of potential in Canterbury area and it is good that INZBC
recognizes that and is working to strengthen the networks in the South Island too”. This event was supported and hosted
by ARA Institute of Canterbury.
As part of the continuous focus on the regions, INZBC plans to hold more events in different parts of the country this