The next china? What you need to know about India [SWOT analysis]
In this article, we will be looking at India through the lens of its investment prospects using the Strength, Weakness, Opportunities and Threat Framework.
India is the second most populated country in the world. Today, India represents 17.35% of the global world population. This provides India with both the labor needed for production and consumers needed to spur on economic growth.
India is a democratic nation. In fact, India is more democratic [rank 41] than Singapore [rank 66] based on the democratic index. Being democratic enables ease of changing unfavourable policy that works against the public favour. Presence of the rule of law. India inherited a legal system from Britain that is internationally recognized. This provides the credibility and ease of doing business within India thereby making it an attractive destination for business ventures.
Rising middle income and an increasing number of participants in the consumer goods and financial market. With a high savings rate and increasing purchasing power, we can expect both the consumer and financial market to pick up with an increase in demand.
Unlocking wealth among the rural population. Contrary to popular belief, the rural population in India are not poor, they’re net worth is just illiquid – in the form of land ownership – which may be unlocked when the government buyback land for development. When that happens, India will have a group of high net worth that is eager to invest in a better living standard or start a business.
Positive changes in India politics. Today, two trends are occurring. Firstly, a new breed of politicians is taking the stage of India, many of them are successful entrepreneurs. Secondly, there is a rise in the participation of women in India’s politics. These trends represent a historical departure from the divisive, caste politics of the past to one that is more business-oriented.
Cultural diversity. With 28 states, 4 major ethnic groups, 16 official languages and over 100 local dialects, the cultural richness and diversity is a double-edged sword. On one end, India cultural diversity makes it a popular travel destination. On the other end, it increases the complexity of operating a business in India.
Though improving, the culture and attitude towards caste system, timeliness and Chalta Hai (anything goes) quality may deter business activities as it contributes towards inefficiencies - higher costs or increase operating difficulty. These factors will affect India’s competitiveness in the global stage.
The chase for higher growth has come at the cost of India’s fiscal deficit, inflation and weakening health of India’s banking system. [Twin Deficit]
India is not the only country in Asia that is emerging. If the country becomes complacent or is plagued by corruption, India risk the chance of having their market share taken by up and rising countries that belong in the same category as India – Emerging and frontier Asia.
Budget deficit and reliance on oil imports may further weaken the strength of the currency. If you’re currently invested or thinking of investing in India without having proper hedging, your returns may be eroded by the weakening of rupee which has depreciated over 50% over the past 5 years.
Inaccuracy and poor reliability of data result in difficulties in accessing the true fundamentals of the Indian market, thereby increasing the risk of investing in India.
Long Story Short
In the eyes of portfolio management, India may provide you with the investments you need to achieve the much-needed returns, but it should be approached with caution.
Personally, I would not build a portfolio around in India investments but instead will allocate a fair share (10-20%) of my portfolio in an attempt to capture the upside potential that the India market has to offer.
Depending on your investment objectives and financial plans, investing in India may or may not be suitable given your risk-reward needs as well as investment time horizon.
Naturally speaking, that is if you have a clear understanding of your own investment objectives and financial plans in the very first place.
If you are reading this and would like to kick start your retirement or investment planning, you can reach out to me here and I’ll help you make sense of the options available at your current stage.
In the following weeks, we will be analyzing India's economy and its attractiveness as an investment alternative.
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Source: Nobrega W., Sinha A. - Riding the Indian Tiger. Understanding India - the World's Fastest Growing Market (2008)
This article is meant to be the opinion of the author and is for information purposes only.
This article should not be seen as a financial advice
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