In recent years, it has been the done thing to try to build a presence in the BRICS nations. In practice, it hasn’t proved so easy. A poor understanding of local customs and strict regulations have made it difficult for companies of all hue – from social networking sites to banks – to build a scaleable business in countries like India.
Becoming a banker to India has proved particularly difficult. There are some 80,000 bank branches in the country and just a tiny fraction of them – 306 – are owned by foreign players. In 2010, just 13 foreign bank branches were opened.
The biggest, Standard Chartered, has 94 branches, while HSBC has 50. Barclays is a minnow with just nine. Its decision to rush into India five years ago in search of the next big thing was a mistake, and should serve as a cautionary tale to those firms hoping to cash in on scorching growth rates in foreign climes. email@example.com