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India offers opportunity for associations but also poses challenges

Groups with existing footprint say bureaucracy and infrastructure are issues, recommend relying on local expertise to navigate system


March 31, 2017
By Walt Williams

With more than 1.2 billion people and a rapidly growing economy, India is a potentially rich source for future members and customers for U.S.-based associations seeking to expand overseas, as long as they’re willing to exercise some patience.

“Be sure to set your expectations appropriately,” said Terry Friesenborg, chief global officer for InfoComm International. “It won’t be a quick entry. You will get a lot of initial enthusiasm but it may or may not be backed up by sustainable engagement, and you kind of have to say that’s okay.”

InfoComm is one of several groups that have established offices and held events in India in recent years. CEO Update recently asked executives with three organizations that have set up shop in the country about the challenges and rewards of doing business there.