Curry 5 pc of London's biz pie
LONDON: Second things first - India is the second largest investor in the UK from Asia, with London alone accounting for half of all Indian investments in Europe.
In fact, the curry flavour is not just seducing gastronomes across the city of Big Ben, but also gradually seeping into London's economy with Indian-owned businesses accounting for five per cent of the city's economy.
Translated into numbers, it implies some 10,000-plus Indian corporates, including 140 Indian MNCs employing a shade under 50,000 people and generating a pretty neat packet of 14.4 billion American dollars as turnover.
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Official confirmation comes in a report breastled 'Indian Communities in London' released by Think London, an inward investment agency for the city and a partner agnecy for UK Trade and Investment, which spotlights the contribution of the Indian community.
Michael Charlton, CEO, Think revealed, "One in every ten people in London originate from the Indian subcontinent. The synergies between the vibrant, fast-growing and services-driven economies of the UK and India have resulted in the UK becoming India's gateway to Europe.
"Indeed, London, voted as Europe's best city for business for 15 consecutive years, attracts half of all Indian investment into Europe."
If that's high praise, it's not exactly unsubstantiated, with more Indian corporates listed on the London Stock Exchange than the entire NYSE and Nasdaq combined.
These include the State Bank of India, Bajaj Auto, Gail (India), Reliance Energy, Raymond, Ashok Leyland, ACC and East India Hotels.
Charlton added, "India's globalisation process has been uniquely balanced with India being the only developing country among the top ten nations for attracting FDI and making investments globally.
"In fact, India ranks fourth in the list. Our impression is that this so far has been led by industry and supported by the encouraging policies of the government here."
Indian businesses expanding offshore are targeting the UK, the number investing in the UK rose to 47 per cent in 2003-04 from the previous year, pushing the country into the numero deux spot with regards to FDI inflows into UK from Asia in terms of projects and jobs generated.
Figures from the UK Trade and Investment reveal that India also figures among the top ten of UK's Foreign Direct Investment markets.
Mark Dolan, deputy director, Inward Investment, India, said, "Indian investors are choosing the UK and London as a good fit for the Indian entrepreneurial spirit, the UK provides dynamic businesses the ability to grasp new opportunities, technologies and markets through agility and innovation in an open and cost-effective environment."
Over the last eight years India's overseas investment in Europe has seen an incredible rise of 450 percent according to Ernst and Young's European Investment Monitor.
The report also observes that the British capital has been a popular destination for Indians since the beginning of the 17th century.
Currently home to 173,000 nationals from India, London accounts for over a third of the resident Indian population in the UK. With the British born people of Indian origin included, this figure jumps to 437,000, accounting for six per cent of London's population.
Flight routes from India to London are UK's busiest, with over 60 flights a week to and from nine Indian cities.
Nearly 4000 of 16000 students from India in the UK are currently studying in London.
Think London's free advisory services have helped over 200 companies from Asia Pacific to set up, develop and expand their businesses in London.
enterprises and smaller entrepreneurial firms. Think London's Indian clients include ICICI Bank, Tata Elxsi, SBI Capital Markets, Yash Raj Films, Polaris and Kale Consultants.