April 14, 2008 // Franchising.com // The Franchising Association of India (FAI), the apex body representing the interests of the franchising community led a Franchise Trade Mission of Indian entrepreneurs and businessmen to the United States of America on April 11, 2008 along with the US Commercial Services, India. The 25-member Trade Delegation attended the International Franchise Expo 2008 (IFE'08) organised by the MFV Expo and sponsored by International Franchise Association at Washington DC from April 11 to 13, 2008.
At the Expo, FAI held a Panel Discussion on "Franchising in India". The panel was focused towards encouraging US franchisors to consider expansion in India. The attendees were given previous issues of Franchising Focus, an FAI publication as well as useful information for franchising in India.
The panel was moderated by Mr. Sunil Dewan a senior franchise professional, Mr. Lakshmi Narayanan of REBI, Mr. Dave Koch of Plave Koch, Ms. Smita Joshi of the USCS and Mr. Rajeev Manchanda of Franchising Association of India, Mr. Dhawal Shah of Franchising Association of India concluded the discussion by mentioning that while India does not have any franchise law, it has an astute franchise legislation.
Mr. Dewan kick-started the discussions by saying that while most Americans would discuss the weather in general when they meet, in contrast to Indians that prefer to talk business. 30-50% of the 600 million Indians are the target audience for most international brands. Thus, needless to say, India has to be on the radar of every international expansion initiative. He also pointed out that there are 200 million potential customers in India as compared to 65 million in China.
Mr. Dave Koch informed the audience that India is a better market than China because Indians have a more formal approach towards commercial matters.
Mr. Rajeev Manchanda said that India is a very diverse country and it is very important to provide support to the Franchisee. He also mentioned that McDonalds had a customized food recipe for Indians and thus it is very important to adapt your product offering to suit the consumers taste buds. He also stated that inspite of all the hurdles related to infrastructure in India, Dominos' Pizza still manages to deliver pizzas in 30 minutes!
Ms Smita Joshi pointed out that due diligence of your master franchise partner is a must for a successful partnership. The US Commercial Services (USCS) has 7 offices across India. Its very important to conduct market research and reference checks while entering a new market place like India. International Franchisors could consider appointing regional licensees / franchisees to facilitate it.
Mr. Lakshmi Narayan, who is a real estate expert pointed out that getting good locations in India continues to be a challenge. While the infrastructure is poor, Indians are loyal and smart employees.
Mr. Dhawal Shah thanked the speakers and concluded with a Vote of Thanks. He stated that while India does not have any franchise laws, it has a very astute legislation protecting the interests of the franchising community.
The Panel Discussion ended with an encouraging note and there were several interest that was generated amongst the participants, who were mainly Foreign Nationals.
Franchising Association of India had also taken up a booth to assist NRIs take up Indian franchise opportunities. The FAI booth at the expo too drew a lot of crowd and it managed to portray India as the most promising destination for Franchising business.
Franchising Association of India founded in 2000 is headed by leading industry professionals, Mr. C. Y. Pal and Mr. Pramod Khera.