Research Handbooks in Business and Management series
Edited by Mehmet Demirbag and Attilia Yaprak
Historically, Indian enterprises have been global as traders both before and since the rise of the British Empire. As traders, they established offices all over the world, especially in the Persian Gulf, East Africa and Southeast Asia. Indian enterprises started globalization with trade by the British, the Dutch, the Portuguese, Egypt, Turkey and other countries (Riello, 2010). The presence of Indian trade has been traced in the Persian Gulf when soldiers of Alexander the Great found a colony of Indian traders on the island named as Fajr al-Hind (‘frontier of India’). During the 18th century, the East India Company (a British firm) expanded its operations and India became the focal point for trade in Asia and enjoyed a monopoly in textiles and spices. As recent as the middle of the 20th century, the Indian rupee was the currency in countries around the Persian Gulf and Arabian Peninsula. India’s three coastal sides promoted trade with the world. The business communities like Parsi, Marwari, Chettiar and Gujrati continued their business drive against all odds of colonialism in the 18th and 19th centuries (Tripathi, 2013). As a resource-rich subcontinent, the British invested in India’s industrial infrastructure in a very similar way to its investment in the United States. This investment was primarily focused on two key industries: textiles and steel. The British, based on the advice of the economist David Ricardo, had begun to outsource both of these industries to where the raw materials were grown or available.
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