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Business News/ Markets / Almost 80% global Indians make investments in India, shows HSBC survey

Nearly 80% of global Indians surveyed are making some sort of investments in India compared to 85% in their country of residence, while most of them expect to increase their levels of investment in the next three years, according to HSBC’s first annual Global Indian Pulse report.

As per the report, stocks and shares (47%) and property (46%) are the most common asset classes.

The phrase ‘global Indians’ refers to anyone who is not currently living in India but was born there (first generation), or has a parent who was born there (second generation) or a grandparent born there (third generation).

The key reasons behind increasing investments are friends or family in India, investment opportunities and to promote positive change in India. According to HSBC, plans to increase investments reflect the optimistic outlook of global Indians. Further, the report showed that global Indians in Hong Kong, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and the UK are particularly likely to do value investing in India.

When it comes to increasing investments into India, global Indians said they wanted more information on how to invest (33%), but also better access to businesses or people on the ground in India who they might invest in (31%), and also greater access to environmental or social investment funds and opportunities (29%).

HSBC feels that there’s clearly an opportunity to open up India to a broader audience here.

When asked where they would be most likely to invest in property in India, a fifth (21%) picked Mumbai and Chennai was second on 9%.

For the report, HSBC’s research partner, Ipsos MORI, surveyed 4,152 Indians across nine markets in the US, Canada, the UK, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore and Australia.

The report also highlighted that sustainability matters a great deal to the global Indians when investing.

“It is widely acknowledged that global Indians make an enormous contribution to the prosperity of countries all around the world. When it comes to India specifically, sustainability plays a major role in investors' decision making," said Raghu Narula, head of wealth and personal Banking, HSBC India.

Another factor was the pandemic. The report highlighted that covid-19 drove a change in attitudes towards investment in India, with 72% of global Indians surveyed saying the pandemic has made them feel closer to friends and family in India. And a third (36%) of those already investing in India said they have proactively increased their investments with the aim of promoting positive change in the country, while 29% are increasing their investment in India with the aim of supporting the India’s covid-19 recovery.

One of the key interesting things that came through in the report was that global Indians remain connected to India, regardless of whether they are first, second or third generation Indians.

Global Indians are most likely to stay in touch with India through food and cultural festivities – particularly if they do not plan to live in India in the future.

The pandemic has also amplified the feeling of connection, as global Indians said covid-19 has actually made them feel closer to friends and family, with many looking to live in India for a period, so they are able to experience their heritage first-hand.

“On this point about returning to India, we’re always amazed by the amount of historic reporting that highlights the phenomenon of a ‘brain drain’ from India but is now shifting and people are talking about ‘brain circulation.’ Our research backs this up as it shows that only 4% of Global Indians have never visited India, and well over half (61%) report they are planning to live in India at some stage in their lives, a fifth in the next two years," Narula said.

Likelihood to live in India in the future varies by market, with global Indians in Australia, Hong Kong, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and the UK being more likely, while the likelihood is lower in Canada, Malaysia, Singapore and the USA.

However, despite looking to live in India at some point, most global Indians are planning to retire in their country of residence, although this is lowest among the first generation. Quality of life and safety are the biggest drivers for Global Indians retiring in their current country of residence, especially among the first generation.

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Abhinav Kaul
Abhinav Kaul writes on cryptocurrencies and mutual funds at Mint. His previous stints include ETMarkets, Reuters Bangalore and Press Trust of India.
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Updated: 18 Nov 2021, 11:20 AM IST
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