Two corporate leaders share their experience on NZITA platform
Patience and passion are two important attributes for success in doing business with India, two corporate leaders have said.
Alan Pollard and Carmen Vicelich, Chief Executives of respectively NZ Apples and Pears Inc and Valocity Limited, said that while India offers immense commercial and industrial opportunities, our businesses and investors should know the ways and means of unlocking the immense potential.
They were the main speakers at New Zealand-India Dialogue Series conducted regularly by the Auckland based New Zealand India Trade Alliance (NZITA), the first of which for the New Year was held at the Northern Club in Central Auckland on February 4, 2020.
“Trade with India should be considered as Strategic Partnership, not just a transaction and the approach should be one of cooperation and collaboration,” Mr Pollard said.
He said that New Zealanders should be able and be ready to provide technical knowhow and skills transfer to their Indian counterparts. Exchange Programmes and discussions on evolving issues concerning Intellectual Property should also be a part of the engagement he said.
Citing the example of his own company, Mr Pollard said that NZ Apples and Pears Inc has been involved with the development of Apple cultivation in the Northern Indian State of Himachal Pradesh over the past 40 years.
Indian Apple industry
“In India, apples are grown only in Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Jammu & Kashmir. The sector in Himachal Pradesh needs rejuvenation and we are offering our expertise and help under a World Bank funded project,” he said.
Mr Pollard said that New Zealand is considered as the Number 1 in apple production in the world, rated thus because of healthy orchard practices and innovation. These have helped in higher yield per hectare compared to other countries.
“Doing business with India can be as challenging and daunting as some of the terrains where apples are grown. The greatest challenge that we face is the high tariffs, which is about 50%,” he said.
Auckland based Valocity Limited was the winner of the ‘Business Excellence in International Trade with India’ at the 12th Annual Indian Newslink Indian Business Awards 2019.
Ms Vicelich said that the first step of success was her decision to fly across the sky to India for one-to-one discussion with prospective customers rather than converse over Skype.
“We should work with people and build relationships. Patience and passion are two very important attributes necessary for success in the Indian market,” she said.
Valocity Limited has developed a world class, scalable, modular platform with no geographical boundaries. Unique to the property valuation industry, the Company utilises data analytics capability of its parent organisation to provide a software platform that automates and collaborates between the various customer groups.
Specific solutions for India
“The ability and willingness to think and work out solutions that are specific to the Indian market
It is the innovative mindset of Valocity Limited that solved the issues faced by the banking, finance and lending institutions. We digitized the process of validating the value of a property and created an ecosystem where lenders, valuers, consumers and brokers have been connected on a cloud platform,” she said.
The company uses intensive customer engagement to develop a solution which matches customer requirements and a strong strategic planning culture that ensures implementation and exceeds expectation.
Earlier, welcoming guests, NZITA Chairman Giri Gupta said that working partnerships has always the objective of the organisation.
He said that he and members of the Executive Committee are proactive and said that there have been occasions when they travelled to India specially to arrange meeting with Ministers in New Delhi to facilitate the commercial engagement of one of its members.
Vice Chairman Dr Don Brash (former Reserve Bank of New Zealand Governor) described the two main speeches (of Mr Pollard and Ms Vicelich) as ‘Two Main Courses.’
“Their insights into the Indian market provided valuable information. India is a growing market of 1.3 billion people with an expanding middle class and soaring demand for quality goods and services. India is literally hungry for the type of products that New Zealand can offer,” he said.
Dr Brash said that NZITA works with a strong network of Indian trade organisations to establish, build and promote trade, investment, sporting and cultural links between New Zealand and India. We have key industry and Government connections, plus chapters in India.
“It is an exciting time. India is on the rise. As Kiwis, we have a unique opportunity to connect and grow our markets in the Indian sub-continent. Our historic links with India, cricket and strong Kiwi-Indian business community gives New Zealand some definite advantages, combined with the right guidance,” he said.
World turns East
General Secretary Surinder Ogra spoke about the trends in trade over the past 50 years. Across industries, trade flows have been shifting away from US, UK and Europe (West) to the East. With the burgeoning middle-class, India occupies an important space in our future trade flows,” he said.
He said that while goods exports to India have grown by a small percentage in the past five years, services exports increased from $408 million to $1.3 billion.
“This is a worldwide trend where physical goods going across the borders is reducing and Services sector is growing,” he said.
- Make India your Strategic Partner: Alan Pollard speaking at the NZITA Meeting (with Surinder Ogra)
- Personal contacts work better in India: Carmen Vicelich
- A double treat on India: NZITA Deputy Chairman Dr Don Brash
Pictures Supplied by NZITA