“India has already seized the moment,” Hardeep Singh Puri, India’s minister of petroleum and natural Gas and minister of housing and urban affairs, declared during a World Economic Forum (WEF) panel Thursday.
Coca-Cola James Quincey concurred.
“The Indian government has seized the moment,” Quincey said on a panel with three Indian union ministers at the global annual conference at the Swiss ski resort Davos, pointing to “how much red tape has been removed in India and how the digital platforms in India are really powerful.” In addition, improved physical infrastructure, the electrification of rural areas, and the wide and rapid adoption of the unified payments interface (UPI) have all helped the growth story.
While India is poised to grow at 6-8%, the consumer industry is growing even faster, both volumetrically and in terms of revenues, according to Quincey. “The framework and platform is there for the growth so I think its about the private sector seizing the moment,” he said.
What’s more is that the Atlanta, US-based company, is “not starting at zero,” Quincey pointed out. India is already the fifth-largest market for Coca-Cola globally. And the beverage giant has been doubling down on the growing opportunity, making record investments in in the country to set up new plants in Gujarat and Telangana to bolster supply, and to increase ad spend to woo consumers. It’s also launching in a ready-to-drink tea for the chai-loving nation.
Quotable: Faster, easier doing business in India
“Coca-Cola came to UP (Uttar Pradesh), one of the largest states in India, and signed up for investment. That investment, from the day of signing to getting all clearances to it being open for manufacturing—all it took was one year and today, it’s the largest bottling plant in south Asia.”
—Smriti Irani, India’s women and child development minister
Coca-Cola in India, by the digits
54: Plants Coca-Cola already has across India
50,000: Direct employees Coca-Cola already has in India
$750 million: How much Coca-Cola has been investing annually in India
$1 billion: How much Coca-Cola wants to invest annually in India over the next five years
Also $1 billion: Sales that Thums Up — a Coca-Cola alternative for the Indian market — surpassed in India in early 2022, making it the first Indian brand in the company’s portfolio to do so. The company is betting on Indian mango-juice drink Maaza to be next of its Indian products to crack the milestone — likely in 2024
350,000: Mango farmers Coca-Cola works with in India to drive up their yields and help them make more money while securing its own supply chain, per Quincey security of supply
63,000: Compliance issues the Modi government has done away with, improving the ease of business in the country, per women and child development minister Smriti Irani
3%: How much faster Coca-Cola’s rural business is growing compared to its urban business, per Sundeep Bajoria, vice president of India operations at Coca-Cola India
One more thing: Coca-Cola exports Indian talent
Coca-Cola hires talent from all across India, from handpicking interns at college campuses to partnering with family-owned bottling businesses. It has partnered with the government on upskilling programs for retailers.
Quincey yesterday said this talent pool not only fills vacancies in India but its also a “source of talent to export outside.”