India: A New Destination for Global Manufacturing

In a rapidly changing global landscape, businesses worldwide are constantly seeking new avenues for growth and stability. For years, the ‘China Plus One’ strategy has been a buzzword among multinational companies looking to diversify their supply chains. This strategy involves reducing their dependence on manufacturing and sourcing solely from China and instead exploring alternative countries. As China faces challenges such as rising labour costs and geopolitical uncertainties, many businesses are beginning to see India as the golden opportunity in their ‘China Plus One’ equation.

China Plus One Strategy

The ‘China Plus One’ strategy is a response to the evolving dynamics in the global economy. While China has been a manufacturing giant for decades, companies have realized that over-reliance on a single country can be risky. The pandemic-induced disruptions to the supply chain only accentuated this need for diversification.

The Evolution of China’s Manufacturing Dominance

China’s rise to manufacturing dominance was nothing short of spectacular. From the early 2000s, it became the world’s factory, supplying a vast array of products to international markets. Companies flocked to China, lured by low labour costs and the sheer scale of its manufacturing capabilities. However, with great opportunity came great vulnerability.

The Vulnerabilities of Over-Reliance

Over time, several vulnerabilities became apparent:

  • Geopolitical Tensions: China’s growing influence and its evolving stance on global issues led to geopolitical tensions. Trade disputes, tariffs, and diplomatic conflicts have put businesses at risk.
  • Rising Labor Costs: As China’s economy developed, labour costs rose significantly, eroding the cost advantage that once attracted businesses.
  • Supply Chain Disruptions: The COVID-19 pandemic exposed the risks of having a supply chain heavily dependent on a single country. Lockdowns, logistics disruptions, and factory closures in China caused global shortages.
  • Intellectual Property Concerns: Protecting intellectual property in China can be challenging, and concerns about data security have grown.

Enter ‘China Plus One’

The ‘China Plus One’ strategy emerged as a solution to these vulnerabilities. It involves:

  • Risk Mitigation: Spreading production across multiple countries mitigates the risk of disruptions due to natural disasters, political turmoil, or global health crises.
  • Cost Optimization: By exploring countries with competitive labor costs and resources, companies can maintain or even reduce their production costs.
  • Market Access: Accessing multiple markets not only diversifies risk but also enables companies to cater to different consumer bases, thereby expanding their potential customer reach.
  • Innovation and Technology: Collaborating with different nations fosters innovation, as diverse perspectives and technologies can be harnessed.

China Plus One: Opportunity for India

India, with its vast consumer base, skilled labour force, and growing economy, has emerged as a prime destination for businesses implementing the ‘China Plus One’ strategy.

India’s Economic Landscape

India, with its diverse and dynamic economy, presents a myriad of opportunities:

  • Large Consumer Market: India’s 1.3 billion population creates a massive consumer market with a growing middle class. This is an attractive prospect for companies looking to expand their customer base.
  • Skilled Workforce: India is known for its well-educated and skilled labour force, particularly in the IT and services sector. This provides an advantage in terms of technology and knowledge-based industries.
  • Government Initiatives: The Indian government has introduced various schemes and incentives to promote manufacturing and investment, such as the ‘Make in India’ and ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ (Self-Reliant India) initiatives.
  • Infrastructure Development: Improvements in infrastructure, including transport and logistics, are making it easier for companies to set up and operate in India.

Sectors with High Potential

Several sectors in India are particularly promising for companies looking to diversify their operations:


India offers a thriving manufacturing sector with a focus on electronics, textiles, automotive, and pharmaceuticals. With its ‘Make in India’ initiative, the government encourages domestic and international companies to establish manufacturing units in the country. This has led to increased Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in manufacturing.

Information Technology (IT)

India is often referred to as the “world’s back office” due to its prominent role in the global IT industry. The country is known for software services, IT outsourcing, and software development. Many global tech giants have established a significant presence in India.

Renewable Energy

India is making significant strides in renewable energy, with a particular focus on solar and wind power. The government has set ambitious targets for renewable energy capacity, creating opportunities for companies involved in this sector.


The pharmaceutical industry in India is a major player in the global market. Indian pharmaceutical companies are known for producing high-quality generic medicines and vaccines, making it a hub for pharmaceutical manufacturing.

Challenges to Consider

While India offers immense potential, there are challenges to consider when implementing the ‘China Plus One’ strategy in the country:

  • Infrastructure Bottlenecks: While there have been improvements, India’s infrastructure still lags in some areas, which can affect supply chain efficiency.
  • Labor Regulations: Labor laws in India can be complex, and striking a balance between workers’ rights and operational flexibility can be a delicate task.
  • Cultural and Language Differences: Doing business in India may require an understanding of diverse cultures and languages, as these can vary significantly across different regions.

Right Approach

To successfully capitalize on the opportunity that India presents in the ‘China Plus One’ strategy, businesses should consider the following steps:

  • Due Diligence: Conduct thorough market research and due diligence to identify the right location, partners, and resources in India.
  • Collaboration with Local Experts: Partnering with local experts and consultants can help navigate the complexities of Indian regulations, culture, and business practices.
  • Invest in Training: Invest in training programs for the workforce to bridge any skill gaps and ensure they can meet the specific needs of your business.
  • Sustainability and CSR: Companies should focus on sustainability and corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives to align with India’s growing emphasis on environmental and social responsibility.

The Future of ‘China Plus One’ in India

As the global economic landscape continues to evolve, India’s role in the ‘China Plus One’ strategy is set to grow. By carefully navigating the challenges and embracing the opportunities, businesses can unlock their full potential in this dynamic and diverse market, ensuring long-term growth and resilience in an ever-changing world.

The Bigger Picture: India’s Global Role

India’s significance in the ‘China Plus One’ strategy extends beyond just being an alternative manufacturing hub. It is also becoming a key player in global supply chain management and a valuable partner for countries seeking to reduce their dependence on China.

International Trade Agreements

India is actively participating in regional trade agreements and initiatives. It is a member of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and has also expressed interest in the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). These agreements open up opportunities for businesses operating in India to access a vast network of international markets.

Leveraging India’s Diverse Talent Pool

India’s strengths extend beyond manufacturing. The country’s pool of skilled professionals in various fields, including technology, healthcare, and research, offers a broad range of opportunities for collaboration and outsourcing.

The Role of Sustainable Practices

India’s commitment to sustainability and clean energy aligns with the growing global emphasis on environmental responsibility. This makes it a suitable partner for companies looking to adopt sustainable practices in their supply chains.


As the world turns towards the ‘China Plus One’ strategy, India stands ready to welcome the world with open arms and countless opportunities. Despite the challenges, the potential benefits of diversifying into India are substantial. By carefully navigating the complexities and investing in local partnerships, businesses can position themselves for success in one of the world’s most promising markets. In the coming years, India’s role in the global supply chain is set to expand, and its influence on international trade dynamics will grow. With the right strategies and a forward-looking approach, India can truly become the ‘Plus One’ that businesses are seeking, offering stability, growth, and a resilient alternative to an overreliance on any single nation. So, as the world looks for opportunities to diversify and expand, India remains a beacon of promise, ready to embrace the future of global business.