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Saturday, March 1, 2008

Heard in the Hallways: A Hidden Hurdle To Indian Market Growth

India is widely considered one of rotorcraft’s biggest potential growth markets. But how will that growth develop? Slowly, some experienced with doing helicopter business there argue.

Demand for offshore-support services is rising, spurred by increased exploration and production efforts in response to record oil prices and the fledgling state of the offshore industry. The VIP transport sector holds great promise, given the nation’s terrain and infrastructure (of lack thereof). Its population of 1.1 billion plus is a natural market for emergency medical services. Throw in Indian military requirements and you can see why manufacturers are anxious to expand their position in the market.

But growth is stymied by an Indian government policy that all rotorcraft projects be conducted through the state-run Hindustan Aeronautics, Ltd. and by U.S. and European companies’ unfamiliarity with Indian culture. One example: Western executives are prone to offer help to their Indian counterparts in overcoming technical hurdles. They’ve been told that doing so is considered offensive. But it took months for that feedback to come, and it did so only after projects had stalled for no apparent reason.

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