WT partnership makes rapid inroads into india
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Australian cost management advisory services firm WT Partnership’s success
in India is built around its market entry strategy and careful targeting of
customers. In just three years, the company has almost 100 staff and
associations with India’s leading businesses.
WT Partnership (WTP) is a 70-year-old organisation providing advisory and
risk management services, infrastructure and construction cost management,
quantity surveying, and building and engineering cost management for real
estate, construction and infrastructure projects. The company employs 1,800
people in Australia, New Zealand, Asia, Europe, the Middle East and North
Most infrastructure, construction and real estate projects operate on thin
margins. Fifty per cent of projects fail to meet their cost targets,
resulting in cost overruns and margin compression. WTP has developed
systems and processes designed to assist project developers to complete
projects within specified costs. These processes are customised based on
the unique requirements of each project.
In emerging markets, many project developers believe they have the
necessary management systems and processes. Only when confronted with
project challenges or when exposed to international partners do they see a
gap in their practices and the need for specialist risk management
expertise. Project developers value the blended experience and expertise of
WTP’s international and domestic staff, and draw on its international
network, knowledge, insights, best practices and emerging trends across
A new frontier in India
India was a new market with rich opportunities for WTP. In 2015, WTP
approached Peter Cox, an India market specialist, to conduct market
research, and prepare a market entry strategy and a financial plan for its
entry into India. Cox has developed and run consulting businesses in India
for 20 years.
India is perceived as a price-sensitive market and a key part of Cox’s
research was to understand the market and prioritise customers that would
see value in WTP’s services, to justify WTP’s premium pricing compared to
domestically available alternatives.
Many international firms adopt a fly-in and fly-out model for developing
business in markets like India before they set up their own operations. WTP
made a decision early on that it had to have a presence in the market. The
company evaluated various market entry models including partnerships with
Indian companies or acquiring Indian startups. After considering various
options, WTP set up a wholly owned subsidiary in India headquartered in
Chennai. WTP also decided to recruit local managers and staff to serve
customers in India.
WTP’s original market research included one-on-one meetings with Austrade’s
India team. Within a short period, the WTP board made the decision to enter
the market. Austrade’s assistance and feedback contributed to the success
of the market research and provided WTP’s board the confidence to expand
Understand and cater to the local market
Setting up and maintaining an overseas subsidiary requires commitment to
financial and human resources, as well as significant senior management
investment in market development. WTP decided to engage Cox to set up the
Indian operations and oversee the business. He joined WTP as a Operations Director in 2015 and continues to support WTP in identifying clients and
developing its business.
In the three years since it established operations in India, WTP has grown
to almost 100 staff spanning three regional and multiple site offices.
‘There are significant opportunities in India given the size of the market,
demographic trends and scale of projects,’ said Cox. ‘But to be successful
offshore, Australian companies need to have a strong brand and successful
reputation at home before considering their expansion into places like
India. Careful selection of customers and market regions were keys to the
success of WTP in India along with an understanding of business practices
and cultures within the market.
‘Some companies make the mistake of transplanting their products and
services from a mature market like Australia to a developing market like
India,’ he added. ‘Products and or services need to be re-engineered to
meet local requirements and pricing. There can be a huge variation between
the pricing in Australia and India. Australian companies need to reverse
engineer their products and services for the Indian market to make it
affordable, relevant and sustainable.’
WTP has been growing at 60 per cent year-on-year in India since 2015. The
company is associated with India’s leading infrastructure, construction and
real estate companies including TATA Realty, Ascendas-Singbridge, Emami
Realty, Piramal Developers, Puravankara Limited, Shapoorji Realty and GMR
Hyderabad Airport, as well as multinational corporations such as JPMorgan,
DBS Bank, Broadcomm, Oracle, Amazon and Cisco. WTP’s projects are spread
across India, including in Amaravati, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad,
Mumbai, Pune, New Delhi and Vijayawada.
According to Munish Sharma, Austrade’s Trade Commissioner in Chennai: ‘The
success of WTP in India is strong testimony to their localised approach and
market entry strategy for India. The key to succeeding in India depends on
‘how’ you engage with the market. The market in India is huge but the
opportunity for Australia is generally in niche areas so it is really
important to understand the market segments and position your product or
service based on gap within that segment. WTP has invested time and
resources to understand buyer behaviour, sales process and continually
localised their strategy and offering as per the requirements of their
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