UK strengthens position as largest G20 investor in India

By Simon Jones

UK companies create largest number of Indian jobs of any nation

The UK has strengthened its position as the single largest G20 investor in India, and supports close to 800,000 jobs, according to the CBI’s second Sterling Assets India report, supported by PwC and the UK India Business Council.

Between 2000 and 2016, the UK invested $24.07 billion in India – increasing its investment by $1.87 billion between 2015 and 2016 – representing 8% of all foreign direct investment (FDI) into the country. The UK also managed to see off tough competition from Japan to remain the largest of all foreign investors into India after Mauritius and Singapore, and significantly ahead of the USA.

British business interests in India span a broad spectrum, both in terms of firms – with several medium-sized businesses taking their place alongside larger companies to do successful business – and sectors, with India attracting investment from industry to services. The chemicals sector receives the lion’s share of British investment in India at $6.1 billion (25% of UK FDI), followed by drugs and pharmaceuticals at $4.1 billion (17%) and food processing at $3.2 billion (14%).

The top reasons British firms invest in India are the size and growth potential of the market, the easy availability of talented workers and the stable political system.

The UK also remains the largest job creator in India via FDI. Between 2000 and 2016, British FDI created 371,000 jobs – 10% of all jobs created by FDI. The total number of people employed by British companies in India currently stands at 788,000 – representing 5.3%, or one in twenty, of private sector jobs.

Carolyn Fairbairn, CBI Director-General, said:

“It’s really encouraging to see the vibrant economic relationship between India and the UK continues to flourish.

“These figures reflect the thriving commercial links that Britain’s businesses – large and small, and from a whole host of sectors – have built in India, and which the Prime Minister saw on her first visit outside the EU.

“From strengthening the UK’s leading position as the largest G20 investor in India to being the biggest Indian job creator through direct investment, it’s clear the country is a magnet for British firms.

“As UK companies grow, they also create jobs and drive prosperity here at home. So, as new opportunities spring up in India – from its rapid digitisation to more young people wanting to study at the UK’s world leading universities – our firms will be looking to take full advantage. Further reductions in India’s corporate tax rates and improvements to the ease of doing business will see the relationship between India and the UK go from strength to strength.”

Kevin Burrowes, executive board member and head of clients and markets at PwC UK, said:

“India offers excellent opportunities for UK businesses looking to engage in a fast-growing emerging economy. Building ever closer business ties with India will be critical, especially at this current time, given the changing global and European stage.

“It is encouraging to see that confidence among British and Indian business leaders has increased in comparison to last year. According to PwC’s latest CEO Survey, 75% of Indian CEOs are ‘very confident’ about their company’s prospects for revenue growth over the next three years, compared to 41% globally, adding to India’s attraction as a place to invest.”

Rt. Hon. Patricia Hewitt, Chair of the UK India Business Council, said:

“It is great to see the UK solidifying its place as the number one G20 investor and job creator in India through FDI.

“The Indian Government’s efforts to improve the business environment are clearly bearing fruit, and British businesses of all sizes and from across sectors have continued to spread right across this exciting and fast-changing market.

“The bilateral business relationship is certainly strong, and it is important to both economies. The fact that Prime Minister May’s visit to India in November was her first bilateral destination showed how much India matters to the UK.

“Indeed, the findings of this report also show how much the UK matters to India in terms of investment and job creation. As Prime Minister Modi said, the UK and India are an “unbeatable combination”.”

UK investment continues to be spread across India, with significantly more firms choosing to invest in Delhi as of late. Between April 2015 and September 2016, nearly a quarter (22.35%) of British investments went to Delhi. The state of Maharashtra, with the city of Mumbai, attracted the largest share of British investment (($7.47 billion) between 2000 and 2016.

Sterling Assets India 2 also marks the start of a series of events between the CBI and the UK India Business Council, focussing on the future of the UK-India trade relationship which will take place in both the UK and India over the next two years.

You can download the report for free here

22 February 2017

Notes to Editors:

Sterling Assets India 2: UK investment creating Indian jobs provides an overview of the impact of British-owned business and UK foreign direct investment on the Indian economy and highlights the commercial impact across India.

About the CBI:

Across the UK, the CBI speaks on behalf of 190,000 businesses of all sizes and sectors. The CBI’s corporate members together employ nearly 7 million people, about one third of private sector-employees. With offices in the UK as well as representation in Brussels, Washington, Beijing and Delhi, the CBI communicates the British business voice around the world.

About PwC UK:

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About UKIBC:

The UK India Business Council believes passionately that the UK-India business partnership creates jobs and growth in both countries, and that UK businesses have ideas, technology, services and products that can succeed in India. The fact that the UK is the number one investor in India reinforces this. Through its insights, networks, policy advocacy, services and facilities, the UK India Business Council supports UK businesses to achieve this success. Find out more by visiting and following @UKIBC on Twitter.

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