Indian CEOs confident about growth and eyeing global markets

19 August 2019 4 min. read
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Despite being encouraged by the promising economic scenario in the domestic market, CEO’s in the country are aware of the instability in the global economy. New analysis from Big Four accounting and advisory firm KPMG reveals that Indian CEOs are gearing up to capitalise on this global instability.

Many have highlighted the tremendous growth currently being recorded in the Indian economy, with some predicting that the country will become the second largest economy in the world by as early as 2050. Executives in the country have been looking to ride this wave of growth, investing confidently in expanding their operations.

As the country’s economic profile grows in prominence, firms in India are beginning to look outward for growth. Trade wars between the United States and China, and divisiveness in the European economy since the commencement of Brexit negotiations are likely to generate an economic vacuum in a number of key regions.

CEOs' take on the domestic and global economy

Where Indian companies have previously looked to the rapidly expanding developing world for growth, KPMG reports that they are now identifying these economic gaps in the developed world. One example of this is the increased level of integration between the Indian economy and the UK economy.

As Brexit negotiations unfold, companies in the UK are looking to conduct business with firms in India – among other expanding economies – to help maintain a degree of stability within their economy. The US has also emerged as an area of focus for Indian firms as it looks to fill the trade vacuum being left by China.

KPMG’s report reveals that more than 50% of the CEOs in India have placed North America and Europe high on their agenda for expansion in the near future, which represents a significant change from the scenario last year, when most CEOs were looking to other emerging markets.

Concerns around territorialism

However, despite identifying market opportunities, CEOs in the country are well aware of the disruptive capabilities that phenomena such as Brexit and the trade war can have on the global economy, and have expresses concerns in this regard. A fair share are also concerned about the overall rise of protectionism across the globe, although to a lesser extent than regarding other developments.

When it comes to domestic operations, however, most CEOs are confident in their position. Firms are well aware of the various disruptive forces currently rocking the business environment – from environmental regulations to technological developments – but are confident in their ability to ride this wave.

Most business leaders in the country (nearly 70%) appear to have identified that maintaining a degree of agility within their operations is crucial to staying relevant in the highly dynamic contemporary market. The same number of CEOs also believe that their own innovative capabilities require a degree of development to meet these modern day requirements.

Agility and disruption

KPMG breaks down the transition to agility into four central tenets. “Fast-paced technological disruptions, changing customer preferences and shifting internal priorities will keep CEOs in India on their toes, thereby compelling them to institute and implement the four pillars for building an agile organisation i.e. innovation, cultural change, dynamic leadership and customer centricity,” states the report.

However, while firms in the country have every intention of developing their organisational agility, they continue to struggle with inculcating a culture of innovation through their ranks. The report places the onus of developing such a culture on those in leadership positions.