History of business in India

India has been a global player for centuries.

The sub-continent sat on vital trading routes and dominated the world economy until the 18th century – when the British East India Company took control.

India became the jewel in the British crown – a colony vital to the Empire. It produced many things including opium – which the British famously traded for Chinese tea.

During its reign, the British Raj built telecommunications, ports and rail networks to connect the country… but India’s share of global GDP dropped from 20 per cent, to less than 5 per cent in the colonial period. Britain ruled until Mahatma Gandhi led India to a peaceful independence in 1947. India became the world’s biggest democracy.

The new Republic of India struggled economically under protectionist policies and tight regulation. From the 90’s Manmohan Singh opened up the economy as finance minister. Unlike China, India built its own home-grown private sector. Companies like Infosys, TATA and Mittal Steel are now big players on the global scene.

India has developed quickly in the recent years. Rapid urbanisation and an emerging middle class are driving growth.