My “shopping mall index” shows you must revisit India for consumers

India had just 9 Shopping Malls in 2007.

There are over 350 Shopping Malls in 2019.

Plus 85 new Shopping Malls will be built in the next 5 years = 435 Shopping Malls in 2025.


That’s my “shopping mall index” That’s why you should revisit India.

India today is a heady mix of three powerful elements – an appetite and reality of rapid change, a young population and the Governments now have funds to spend.

Add to this that online retail is taking off, with Amazon and the local Flipkart leading the way.


Dr Mark Morley Trade Commissioner India Government of Australia makes a key point about opportunities for us: “Australia is well positioned with the Indian consumer. Across India, we have a great reputation for clean, safe and reliable supply. We are well known as a premium supplier of produce, and we have a global reputation for our quality brands.”

One challenge for Australian businesses is to fully understand the market – and the answer is that hardly anyone knows what size the market is.

We know there are 1.3 billion people.

Within that, some estimate the “middle class” as high as 300 million.

Austrade takes a dimmer view – it estimates that there are approximately 30 – 80 million people in our target demographic, many of whom live outside Tier 1 cities. Thats a big range from 30 to 80, which shows that we just do not know. Austrade looks for consumers that:

  1. can afford international travel to destinations like Australia;
  2. can afford to send their children for study abroad; and
  3. can afford to eat at high-end restaurants and hotels, or eat significant amounts of imported food and wine at home.

The point is, we need more and better data.

But my “shopping mall index” should give you a reason to revisit.

And if you act soon but take a long term view, now is the time to start.

Uniqlo to open first Indian store in Delhi

Further evidence of rapid change in retail in India – On 4th October 2019, Japanese apparel retailer “Uniqlo” will open its first store in Delhi and as a part of its strategic roll-out plan, it will open three stores in the Delhi-NCR region by end of 2019.


Ambience Mall, Vasant Kunj

The government has further improved sourcing patterns for the international companies that enter India through its single brand retail route.


Mr. Tomohiko Sei, Chief Executive Officer, Uniqlo India, said, “We are very excited to announce the opening date today. We look forward to formally opening our doors to the Indian customers and offering Uniqlo’s high quality, highly functional apparel that we call LifeWear starting from Delhi at Ambience Mall, Vasant Kunj.”


“Small talk” – essential skill if you want to be in global trade

Many people are uncomfortable with “small talk”, the so-called relaxed chat that happens when we meet and prior to the real discussion. But it is an essential business tool for global trade. See where you fit:

1. Does small talk feel a bit strange and personal?

You might rather sit in the corner and keep quiet – but walking around the room and chatting is a vital negotiation step – it begins the relationship building. MY TIP – prior to any major trade meetings, take an hour to visit some major memorial, new centre, historic building or tourism stand out. There’s your topic of small talk!


2. But small talk is superficial

Yes, you are right, it is superficial. But the paradox is it is also important. it is about connecting, about seeing how the other person operates, and finally it is about trying to make others feel comfortable. MY TIP – think less about yourself and more about the other person. They might be nervous about small talk too.

3. How do you know what to talk about?

It’s not as hard as you might think – the weather, the last week at work, some family happening, the wonderful meal you had yesterday, what is coming up next week. MY TIP – an easy way to participate in small talk is to ask questions – how has your week been?

4. Small talk is a waste of time

Small talk feels like a waste of time but it is one step towards building relationship. If you make the other person feel relaxed, engaged and interested, they will feel grateful. MY TIP – don’t be too serious, laugh as you say things, keep it lighthearted.

5. Can small talk be risky?

If you keep it light, smile, make eye contact, offer some friendly insight into your world, there is no risk. But if the small talk suddenly shifts to the major topic of the day (before the real discussions have started) then be cautious. MY TIP sometimes you just have to back away. It is not the time for serious stuff.

6. But how do you end the small talk?

Everyone in a crowded room knows that you cannot and should not spend the whole evening with them, so once there has been enough small talk, you should move on and start again with someone else. It’s called “working the room”. MY TIP with a big smile and friendly face just say “really good talking to you and I hope we catch up later on”. Easy.

Thanks to Dr Andy Molinsky for some of the above.


Australia will relate better to Asia by removing the “bamboo ceiling”

Former Labor Government Minister and current Chancellor of the Australian National University – Gareth Evans – has raised an important challenge for Australia that is too often swept under the carpet.

Australia’s “bamboo ceiling” keeps Asian Australians out of top positions.

Here is the view of Gareth Evans:

“The “bamboo ceiling” in Australia is real. Asian-Australians now comprise up 12 per cent of our total population but hold only around 3 per cent of senior leadership positions in our public institutions and ASX 200 companies. They have been an under-appreciated and under-utilised national resource for far too long.”


Gareth Evans sums it up so well:

“The bamboo ceiling is an issue on which we have ducked and weaved and dithered for too many years. The Asian century is off and running and we have in our midst a fantastic community resource with which to take maximum advantage of all the opportunities it offers.”

Well said.

And my view?


Removing the “bamboo ceiling” would reduce Australia’s anxiety and uncertainty over Asia – it would allow Australia to play a big role in the “Asian Century”.

One third of the world’s population lives on our doorstep – and they are on the rise as economies and powers.

By getting our own house in order – removing the “bamboo ceiling” – we can live positively and well in the world’s most exciting region.

China and India are our biggest source of migrants – let’s give them every opportunity.

Fair go, Australia!

Mutual Funds continue robust growth in India

The Indian Mutual Funds’ asset base increased to US$364.4 billion in August, a rise of 4 per cent as compared with the preceding month, on the back of robust inflows in equity and liquid schemes. There are 44 mutual funds in India, according to data from the Association of Mutual Funds in India (AMFI).

Mutual fund houses witnessed an overall inflow of US$14.59 billion last month – fund managers attributed growth in the asset base to higher retail participation and robust inflows in equity schemes and liquid funds.


Retail investor interest in equity mutual funds, for the fourth time in succession, continues to be steady, displaying maturity, despite uncertain economic and volatile market situation.

The 4 paradoxes of doing business with India

Slow and Fast

We think you need to commit three years to building business in India – but when you first go be ready for anything because demand can be instant. Or not. A careful understanding of the market and assessment of whether it is right for you is essential.

Price and Relationship

We know Indians chase a bargain. But price alone is not enough for longevity in India – you need to build relationships. I would build the relationship first, because anyone can undercut your price.

Status and Money

Status in a hierarchical society such as India is paramount. But now so is money. Making it. Showing it. If your product combines status and money it is a good fit. When there, be careful to fully respect the status of whoever you are dealing with.

“India” and “Many Indias”

India is not one market – it combines many languages and cultures, with people in one part of the country not even being able to understand people in another part. We begin by understanding the regional differences between north, south, east and west – but this is only the beginning of drilling deep to know who you are dealing with and who you are targeting. Beware someone who promises to take you “across India” in one major campaign.

Step one is to get some good market research – the only safe and sound beginning. Add to that some cross-cultural training.

Time, knowledge and patience are the keys.


Stephen Manallack speaking at Australia India Business Council function

New airport for Navi Mumbai on the way

India’s infrastructure major, L&T (Larsen and Toubro), has bagged the contract for construction of the Navi Mumbai International Airport.

The company did not provide value of the contracts but said the orders fall under “major” category which ranges between US$ 715.40 million and US$ 1 billion.


Navi Mumbai (shown in these pictures) is a part of Greater Mumbai and is a planned satellite city.

This second international airport for bustling Mumbai is no small venture – it is being developed to initially handle a capacity of 10 million passengers per annum. The project will subsequently be enhanced to handle 20 MPA.


Regular visitors to India will notice constant upgrades in infrastructure – infrequent visitors will be amazed at the global quality of many Indian airports.