With a population of 1.2 billion people, India (official name: the Republic of India) is the second most populous country in the world, and thanks to its remarkable growth in recent decades, has become the world’s fourth largest economy, and the third largest in Asia, behind China and Japan.
India is one of the most diverse countries in the world, with pronounced regional, religious, and linguistic differences. It is modern, sophisticated and wealthy in some areas and respects, and tribal, traditional and poor in others.
Foreign executives doing business in India should be aware of the importance of hierarchy, which is rooted in Hinduism and the caste system. India’s strict hierarchy provides a framework which defines an individual’s social status and role in society.
Business decisions in India are based not only on facts and data, but also “gut level” intuition. Building trust is extremely important.
Family life is also considered extremely important in Indian culture and it is not uncommon during the “getting to know each other” process for executives to share a dinner with a prospective partner’s family, in their home. Dinners tend to start late (9pm-10pm) in India. At 6pm, many are still having tea.
Also be aware that in India’s multiethnic society there are more religious holidays than most other countries. Keep a schedule handy, and avoid scheduling meetings during or close to holidays.