Tuesday, June 2, 2020

#Sambandh Stories is a series of short interviews with our members or collaboration partners on different topics of interest.

The below interview is of Anders Wickberg, Trade Commissioner to India and Market Area Director to South Asia at Business Sweden.

What do you think about India’s recovery from Covid 19?

First and foremost this is of course a human tragedy and we can see how many parts of the Indian society is affected as a result of Covid 19 and the lockdown. We can only hope that the strong measures taken by the Indian government to contain the spread will prove sufficient and that the economy will be able to restart in a responsible manner within soon.

With a relatively large part of India’s economy being driven by domestic consumption and less dependent on global value chains, I believe India will be able to recover faster than many other countries. This has at least been the conclusion from previous crisis, e g the Asian financial crisis in the late 1990s, the global financial crisis 2009, where the Indian economy did see a rather sharp “V” curve in terms of recovery.  

This being said, many countries are now intensely working with their recovery plans and trying to position themselves as attractive investment destinations going forward, so India’s trajectory will of course depend on how well the country can continue to attract investments and stimulate demand. This is a golden opportunity for the Indian government to forcefully and in close cooperation with the business community address some of the most important challenges that face companies willing to invest in the country and significantly improve ease-of-doing-business perception.

What sort of company will be in the lead one year ahead?

This crisis will most likely lead to a Darwinian shakeout and a ‘survival of the fittest’, which implies that it is not a given that the traditionally successful companies will come out on top and the weaker ones disappear. Rather, it will be the companies most able to adapt to the new normal that will be the winners going forward.

Speed will matter in the coming year, and creating a recovery plan prioritizing revenue opportunities and stay close to their customers, now more than ever, while continuing to safeguard the health of employees, will be crucial.

What  strategies do you propose to export focused companies to implement in order to remain globally competitive?

What the new normal means will of course differ per industry and market, and so will the strategies needed to prosper in the new normal. In general I believe companies will have to be more agile and ‘start-up’ minded in their strategy- and planning processes for the coming year, closely monitor changes in market attractiveness and customer demands. Ensuring agility in value chains will also be crucial to handle potential disruptions in supply and a likely sluggish demand pattern on global markets.

As input to the strategies, understanding changes in customer demand and industry structures will of course be key. With the vast stimulus packages being rolled out by national governments worldwide, it is also important to understand what increasing government intervention in business means for you in the different markets. As governments step up to save the private sector, some countries will nationalize certain companies, some will take equity stakes, some will provide loans, and others will choose to regulate.

Thank you Anders!

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