Growth at Center-Stage
Rajiv Rao, Sales Director - Basic and Performance Chemicals, Dow Chemical International Pvt Ltd

As India is poised to take its industrial growth to the next level, Dow India stays focused on making most of this opportunity with its path -breaking solutions in chemistry, customised for India. Rajiv Rao, Sales Director, Basic and Performance Chemicals, Dow Chemical International Pvt Ltd (Dow India) outlines Dow's vision - Innovation for India, in India.

The size of Indian chemical industry is about 3 percent of the global chemical market. While the industry size may not be in proportion to the population share of India, the rising per capita income and consumption patterns point towards accelerated growth across the industry. The fact that the Indian industry is growing at a much faster pace than the global average of 3-4 percent speaks for itself.

In the coming few years, we see majority of growth in sectors supporting infrastructure creation, consumer products, healthcare, energy distribution and water supply. The efforts on the part of central and state governments to provide supportive policy framework for chemical industry are now culminating in more and better manufacturing capabilities, fewer roadblocks in obtaining clearances and production of chemicals moving up the value chain. For Dow, this is an encouraging industry scenario to operate and grow in.

Opportunities and Challenges
Comparatively, lower per capita consumption is an opportunity by itself - there is a lot of potential for upward mobility. As the buying power and aspirations of the middle class grow, the opportunities in the market are increasing exponentially. Growth of generic drug manufacturing in conjunction with patent expiry, drive to increase agricultural output, increased consumer spending in FMCG sector, automotive and coatings sectors have provided the much needed impetus to the chemical industry.

As environmental regulations evolve in India, the changing regime is opening new avenues for chemical companies to innovate and place sustainable technologies in the marketplace.

The challenges we face in India are very similar to our multinational peers - the complex bureaucratic system is not easy to navigate. Inadequate infrastructure, which is part of the opportunity here, can sometimes pose challenges in conducting day-to-day business. Many of the costs that add up in setting up business here are avoidable. Development of ports to ease out congestion, expressways of international standard enabling fast movement of goods, and implementation of GST should go a long way in enabling business in the country.

Growth Drivers
As the economy opens up, the Indian marketplace is getting crowded with local and international companies vying for a share in the market. Innovation for India, in India would be the key differentiator - it will not only address specific needs of the consumer, but will also help in keeping the costs and environmental impact down. Indian manufacturers and exporters have already embraced the global standards and comply with sophisticated technical standards. These technologies of the future should also benefit India. Updating the Indian regulations accordingly, to include better, more sophisticated technologies at affordable cost should be the priority of the policy makers.

For Dow, the key growth driver in India is the quality of our products and our capability to maintain uninterrupted supply to all our customers. We believe in being a compliant corporate citizen and giving back to the community in every way we can. This ethos of responsible care translates into our business and helps us maintain long-standing customer relationships .

Future Plans
India has always been one of the important markets for us. In the last few years, we have achieved strong growth numbers in this market. Our future plans focus on improving these numbers and maintaining market leadership for all our key products. Dow is now geared up to meet the needs of the Indian customers through highly efficient supply chain capabilities, unmatched product quality through manufacturing excellence, and shifting its focus from a product sale to providing holistic solutions to market needs.