Indian Round Table
Poland’s Challenges and Opportunities in the Subcontinent
Report on discussions by representatives of public administration, the business community and representatives of think-tanks
Organizers: Krzysztof M. Zalewski, Tomasz Augustyniak, Jakub Kamiński, Patrycja Pendrakowska
How to build an ecosystem of Polish success in India?
In recent years, India has been the fastest growing among the major countries’ economies in the world. This placed it as the third economy of the globe, measured by purchasing power parity. In the coming decades, the Subcontinent’s largest country may remain one of the pillars of global economic growth. This is one of the reasons why the country is already the most popular destination for Polish foreign investment in the Asian-Pacific region.
At the same time, in the almost unanimous opinion of entrepreneurs, the Subcontinent remains a prospective but difficult area for Polish companies. The first experiences are not always favourable, and the specificity of running a business makes many entities expect support and provide practical knowledge about the local dynamically changing market.
The meeting at the Boym Institute was aimed at understanding the perspectives of various actions related to cooperation with India and finding ways to build an ecosystem of success in the Subcontinent.
The rediscovery of India
Before 1989, Polish companies achieved some success in India thanks to the mediation of the state-owned commercial and investment centres.
The changes that the Polish and Indian economies underwent on the wave of the liberalization and decentralization of the 1990s, including the collapse or change in the profile of some large companies, caused many of these contacts to be severed.
The period after 1989 is the first in which private companies are standing on both sides of contract and business contracts. Many Polish small and medium-sized enterprises have to discover the Indian market for themselves. In order to sustain this process, female entrepreneurs need constant support from both public institutions and mentoring on the part of more experienced businesses.
- Opportunities and challenges in the Indian Market
- Made in the EU (Poland) On the Indian market, Poland benefits from being part of the European Union and the possibility of delivering European products. Building the awareness of the Polish product as a reliable European brand on the Indian market is a chance to achieve success.
- Poland should make greater use of the already existing India-EU cooperation platforms and support institutions. Polish business associations and business support institutions could, for example, ensure better representation of Poland entities in centres such as the European Business and Technology Centre (https://ebtc.eu )
- It is worth looking for your opportunities in new trends on the market and sectors. An example may be the use of the potential of the smart cities program (introduction of modern technologies to urban infrastructure), the public safety sector or the education of young children, similar to those in the West, and the use of “smart” solutions – educational products for children. Other promising industries include fitness, pet products, and traditional industries of agricultural and mining modernization.
- Success in India is most likely if a given entity/product becomes part of an important socio-political process. An example would be a) the use of educational toys in the reform of education systems, b) designing new mines – from design drawing to starting/operating a mine.
- Distribution channels should be strongly related to the specificity of the market. For example, the standards of showrooms in India differ significantly from the European ones, and the e-commerce channel is often used by customers from their mobile phones while driving in traffic (the customer often does not drive the car, they have a chauffeur). Hence the need to adjust product presentation, ease of ordering and delivery associated with other habits. Due to the hierarchy of the society, one of the methods is to build the image of the product as an exclusive product, available only to a select few
- The investment may require finding an Indian partner and establishing a joint venture with them. In some sectors this is a formal requirement and in others it is a practical convenience. Once you find such a reliable partner, it can be valuable not only on the Indian market, but also in many other places around the world (thanks to Indian global family networks).
- Large projects require many years of planning and certain staff constancy. Due to rotation in state-owned companies or companies with a dominant share of public authority in Poland, some industries, such as coking or copper mining, lack strategic continuity and many years of talks with India are not continued. So the challenge remains to maintain strategic continuity despite staff discontinuity on both sides.
- Effective action on a large scale requires building coalitions of a greater number of entities. The challenge remains to break the climate of distrust between Polish entrepreneurs and see the benefits of cooperation.
- Understanding the consequences of Indian diversity – Polish entrepreneurs and institutions are accustomed to functioning within a unitary state (the rules are practically uniform throughout Poland) on the one hand, and within a common EU market on the other. However, if many entrepreneurs are aware of cultural and religious diversity, they often find the consequences of the federalization of the state and the ability to set taxes and rules at the state level surprising.
- Knowledge of the Indian market as a whole should therefore be supplemented with regional specifics. A step in the right direction is the report on the sources of knowledge on India’s regional economic specifics prepared by the team from the Asia Research Centre at the War Studies University.
- Visa processing remains a challenge for public administration, particularly consulates. Currently, the time required to obtain a visa and the conditions for obtaining and waiting for a visa discourage Indian partners from making business visits (for example to manufacturing facilities in Poland). Entrepreneurs expect their business partners to find it easier, especially with a documented history of returning from the Schengen zone.
- Coordination of legal services – in many countries, legal services are provided by specialised companies, depending on the type of assistance needed. In India, lawyers often feel that their foreign client should rely on their expertise, even though they lack experience in certain substantive issues. Seeking a second legal opinion is often treated as breaking an unwritten rule. The challenge can be to create a functional legal service that combines comprehensive operations on the Polish and Indian markets, without compromising business relationships with partners.
- The need to set time and resources aside for longer trips. Business partners need time to get to know each other. The process of entering the Indian market is also difficult and time-consuming due to bureaucracy, unclear regulations, labour law or certification process. Although the law is not very complicated, the administrative process itself is difficult, for example to establish a company in India.
- It is worth extending the time for business trips. Given the different understanding of time in the Indian market, the length of business trips co-organized by public authorities should be adjusted to local conditions (more than three days).
- How do we reliably inform about India’s transformation and build a foundation for future success?
The role of analytical institutions/media:
- The need to distribute two types of knowledge. On the one hand, practical knowledge related to specific business behaviours is present in India (long waiting times for invoicing in places such as hotels or bars, long travel times between two locations due to traffic congestion, restrictions on the use of India SIM cards, the most popular business applications, etc.). On the other hand, information about market trends and new regulations affecting business conditions is also important.
- Stories of successes and failures of others in this challenging market are also an interesting resource for entrepreneurs.
- Think tanks wishing to reach entrepreneurs should skilfully select knowledge, putting the most important information in clear summaries.
- It is important to use a variety of formats, especially podcasts and videos (which can be listened to/ watched on long flights).
- Apart from the internet and social media, the knowledge distribution channel could also be the media available during long transcontinental journeys (in-flight newspapers, in-flight multimedia library).
The role of public institutions and business associations:
- Performing evaluations of public support programs in the Asia-Pacific region on a regular basis and making this data public. In this way it is possible to check which activities practically support Polish success and to what extent. The evaluation of previous strategies should be the basis for building new ones.
- If some elements of support for entrepreneurs are difficult for public administration and their effects are assessed negatively by business, it is worth considering commercialization of a part of the economic promotion sector (tenders for support and promotion activities). This could help counteract the inadequate allocation of resources and human resources.
- The creation of information on public tenders in South Asia open to outside companies. Access to such specific knowledge is quite limited. This gap in knowledge about government programs was filled by the Polish Institute of International Affairs report “India in the Reform Process. Opportunities for Poland.”
- Such knowledge should also be presented as a database and updated, along with information about the success of European companies in tenders under these programs.
- It is worth creating an updated guide to business in India, which should contain a lot of practical information about tax regulations, customs tariffs or products codes. So as not to duplicate the work of others, it is worth creating such an open database together with European partners.
From the entrepreneur’s point of view, there is a lack of information on how to deal with the possible dishonesty of partners, who to report to, how to solve such problems and what tools exist for this purpose.
As the awareness of the scale and pervasiveness of climate impacts on human societies keeps rising, so does the frequency with which the terms “climate refugees” and “climate migrants” are being used in the public discourse “to describe those who are being displaced due to adverse consequences related to climate change” (Atapattu, 2020).Dawid Juraszek
The debate was the consequence of positive reactions to the open letter that the Boym Institute published in the summer of 2020. Many of its readers pointed out the necessity of broad consultations regarding the principles of the new multidimensional policy in order to reflect the diversity of perspectives, interests and conditions.
Indonesia is the largest Muslim democracy in the world. Approximately 88% of the population in Indonesia declares Islamic religion, but in spite of this significant dominance, Indonesia is not a religious state.Anna Grzywacz
The Adam Institute invites you to join us for a new engaging course, tailored to participants from Poland, taught on ZOOM.
The countries of the Indochinese Peninsula are struggling with the problem of the deteriorating state of the Mekong River, which scientists and publicists are increasingly boldly describing as an ecological disaster. Alongside climate change, existing hydropower plants and those under construction in China and Laos are among the greatest threats. These ventures deepen the regional dispute over a river crucial to communities of tens of millions of people.Jakub Kamiński
The Social Credit System currently being rolled out in China may pose significant organisational and legal challenges for both foreign and Polish entities operating in China. We invite you to read our report, prepared in cooperation between the Boym Institute and Kochanski & Partners.Patrycja Pendrakowska
It is important to contribute to the understanding of what the New Silk Road can mean in economic, political, leadership and cultural terms for the European countries involved. This analysis should reveal the practical consequences of the Belt and Road Initiative for Europe in the case of Poland and Germany, as well as their respective social effects.
One of the key elements of the protection of foreign investment (and thus the foreign investor) is the mechanism for resolving disputes between the state and the foreign investor. The mechanism itself may take different forms...Adrian Zwoliński
The aim of the paper is to present the current stage of integration among the Central Asian republics and to analyze directions and dynamics of this process in the nearest future. This study also attempts to identify factors which can either slow down or strengthen the process of integration as well as its causes and consequences.Jerzy Olędzki
Witnessing the recent flurry of political activity amid the accelerating environmental emergency, from the Green New Deal to the UN climate summits to European political initiatives, one could be forgiven for thinking that things are finally moving forward.Dawid Juraszek
On the initiative of the Vietnamese community in Poland and Vietnamese graduates of Polish universities, our country received support from Vietnam - a country that deals with the threat posed by Sars-Cov-2 very effectively.Grażyna Szymańska-Matusiewicz
After the darkness of the Cultural Revolution, the times of the Chinese transformation had come. In 1978, Deng Xiaoping realised the need to educate a new generation of leaders: people proficient in science, management and politics. Generous programmes were created that aimed at attracting back to China fresh graduates of foreign universities, young experts, entrepreneurs and professionals.Ewelina Horoszkiewicz
Book review of "GDR International Development Policy Involvement. Doctrine and Strategies between Illusions and Reality 1960-1990, The example (South) Africa", written by Ulrich van der Heyden and published by Lit Verlag in 2013.Nicolas Levi
Polish women do not often become the heroines of media reports in Central Asia. In February 2020, however, it was different. The story of Agnieszka Pikulicka-Wilczewska, a journalist, "heated up" the headlines of local news portals. More importantly, "between the lines" she talked a lot about contemporary Uzbekistan and the role of women in politics.Magdalena Sobańska-Cwalina
Intensive modernization and the desire to catch up with the armed forces of the United States made chinese interest in the military application of futuristic technologies grow bigger.Paweł Behrendt
We would like to inform, that Observer Research Foundation has published article of Patrycja Pendrakowska - the Boym Institute Analyst and President of the Board.Patrycja Pendrakowska
The Chinese Influence Campaign can allegedly play a dangerous role at certain Central European universities, as stated in the article ‘Countering China’s Influence Campaigns at European Universities’, (...) However, the text does ignore Poland, the country with the largest number of universities and students in the region. And we argue, the situation is much more complex.Patrycja Pendrakowska
On 10 January, early presidential elections were held in Kyrgyzstan, following the resignation of the incumbent, President Zheenbekov. The atmosphere in which the vote was conducted remained tense. This had been the case since the results of the October elections were announced, in which the opposition grouping failed to win a single parliamentary seat.Jerzy Olędzki
The course will be taught via interactive workshops, employing the Adam Institute’s signature “Betzavta – the Adam Institute’s Facilitation Method“, taught by its creator, Dr. Uki Maroshek-Klarman. The award-winning “Betzavta” method is rooted in an empirical approach to civic education, interpersonal communication and conflict resolution.
Book review of "Korean Diaspora in Postwar Japan - Geopolitics, Identity and Nation-Building", written by Kim Myung-ja and published by I.B Tauris in 2017.Nicolas Levi
We would like to inform, that Financial Intelligence has published interview for Balkan Development Support with Patrycja Pendrakowska.
The number of confirmed executions and frequent disappearances of politicians remind us that in North Korea the rules of social Darwinism apply. Any attempt to limit Kim Jong-un's power may be considered hostile and ruthless.Roman Husarski
Commissioned in 2019 by the British government and published in February 2021, The Dasgupta Review has been likened to the 2006 Stern Review. Where the latter brought to widespread attention the many failings of the world economy in the face of global warming, the former makes similar points as regards biodiversity – and identifies the unique challenges faced by women.Dawid Juraszek
We want the Boym Institute to become a valuable platform of exchanging views, making valuable acquaintances and, above all, deepening knowledge. Therefore, we undertake the organization of many events: debates, lectures, and conferences.