'Global shift': India growing in popularity among Swedish businesses

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'Global shift': India growing in popularity among Swedish businesses
A rainbow is seen over the iconic Gateway of India in Mumbai in August 2023. Photo: AP Photo/Rajanish Kakade/TT

International growth markets such as India and Indonesia are becoming more attractive to Swedish businesses, according to a new survey by Business Sweden, which also indicates that traditional markets such as North America are stagnating in popularity.


"In the past two years, India as well as the United Arab Emirates have overtaken the US and China when it comes to favourite countries and business climate. I don't want to use the word paradigm shift, but it does still mark a global shift which is rather hard to analyse," Business Sweden CEO Jan Larsson told TT newswire.

In the survey - the Global Business Climate Survey 2023 - Business Sweden investigated the Swedish company market in foreign markets, contacting over 1,600 businesses and other representatives through the Swedish Chamber of Commerce, as well as embassies and consulates worldwide.

Larsson identified a number of factors which seem to support this shift. While India's population has grown, China's has dropped. At the same time, India has launched a range of different initiatives to improve the country's growth, including the Make in India project encouraging foreign companies to do business in India.

"India has become an attractive production site for Swedish companies and has a growing middle class," he explained. "India has been the favourite to become a future market for a long time but I think it's finally going to happen now."

Indonesia, Canada and Brazil were also ranked highly in the survey, and a total of 66 percent of responding companies expected increased income compared with 2023. The least popular countries for Swedish companies were Germany, Portugal, Hong Kong and Taiwan.


Larsson believes that the weakening popularity of western European markets and the USA is linked to the economic stagnation in these areas as a result of inflation-busting measures, such as interest rate hikes.

The fact that these markets are now less popular for Swedish companies is not necessarily bad news, Larsson said.

"With regard to our overarching ambition to increase Swedish trade and the export of Swedish goods, it's more positive than negative. These are very large markets, Indonesia is the fourth largest in the world and India is the largest."

"I also believe that developments in western Europe and the USA are linked to economic factors, like the war in Ukraine."

After the survey was completed, Quran burnings in Sweden gained international attention, with some countries calling for boycotts on Swedish companies. Larsson warned that could have greater consequences than previous crises for Swedish companies.

"Developments concerning what's happening should be taken extremely seriously. There has been a long, drawn out period of negative publicity in a relatively large part of the world. Having said that, this may not affect us in the long term."

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