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26 July, 2006 - 06:54 By Staff Reporter

More companies reap rewards in India

Colin Cushing, managing director of Essex-based Chapman Automotive, is a hot gospeller for the services provided by UK Trade & Investment and East of England International advisers and their effectiveness in helping local companies penetrate the Indian marketplace.Colin Cushing, managing director of Essex-based Chapman Automotive, is a hot gospeller for the services provided by UK Trade & Investment and East of England International advisers and their effectiveness in helping local companies penetrate the Indian marketplace.

Chapman Automotive is a full vehicle product development company which incorporates a network of complementary organisations under the brand ‘ideasfactory.’

These offer turnkey services to vehicle manufacturers and their supply chains and earlier this year RLE – its main partner in the ideasfactory – opened an office in Delhi.

Cushing said: “Our entry into India has been very well supported by UKTI. As well as selling into the Indian OEMs we are using the country’s low-cost resources here in the UK.

“India has a vast potential market for the automotive engineering industry and we would be crazy to miss out on it.

“We joined the Passport to Export scheme and have taken trips out to India with UKTI’s help. We hope more companies in our region will feel similarly encouraged to look at the market in India with the help of UKTI.”

Shafiq Parwaz, managing director of Fiberlogix in Watford and a delegate at a recent UKTI event, ‘Doing Business in india’ also supports the drive for more local businesses to target the country.

Fiberlogix designs, manufactures and markets specialty optical fiber for defence, industrial and telecoms. It also manufactures many high performance passive optical devices and modules to optical network system manufacturers.

He said: “We attended ‘Doing Business in India’ to learn how to better progress the business in India. I learnt what is the best way to ensure payment from customers.

“We have been involved with UKTI for nine months and it has been very useful. We are now trading in Bombay, Delhi and Hyderabad. There is a huge market in India – it just has to be educated and developed for the future.”

One of the first local companies to benefit from UKTI’s expertise in targeting India was Re-Fuel Technology in Bushey, Hertfordshire.

Advice and support from UK Trade & Investment helped Re-Fuel expand and open a manufacturing facility in Kolkata.

Re-Fuel Technology was formed in 2000 by three shareholders, whose combination of technical expertise, business experience and market access, allowed the development of a high efficiency, high energy density redox fuel cell.

Applications of Re-Fuel include electric vehicle applications such as delivery vans and shuttle buses, as well as stationary applications such as renewable energy storage for off-grid power generation and telecommunications back-up power.

Re-Fuel enrolled onto UK Trade & Investment’s Passport to Export programme and the company now employs staff in the UK and in India.

Managing director Jay Mitra said: “For this strategy to be successful we needed to consider the market potential for India by examining competition, defining regulatory issues as well as by organising additional market research.

“India is well known in the UK for outsourcing and making use of lower labour costs, but we needed more. It was important that India presented a real opportunity to sell our product in the local market, and that we were able to access India’s huge diversified manufacturing base, with its abundant supply and availability of quality raw materials.”

Mitra was concerned about the risks and problems involved in expanding his business to India. There were the cultural issues to cope with as well as making the Re-Fuel business model work.

However, with support from the Passport to Export programme and other key stakeholders, the company was able to draw up a marketing strategy in order to overcome overseas trade barriers. This involved identifying potential customers, market research and a strategy for India.

Mitra added: “My recommendation to other companies looking for success in an overseas market, is to get involved and take advice from UK Trade & Invest-ment, research the market, remain committed and keep an open-mind.”

• For further information on UK Trade & Investment or the Passport to Export programme contact the intern-ational trade team in your local Business Link or visit www.exporteastofengland.org.uk

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