India is increasingly being seen as a source of valueadded goods and services and an important business partner, the UK India Business Council (UKIBC), which promotes trade between the two countries, said in a report. In the report, `Emerging Cities of India', it identified Pune, Ahmedabad, Chandigarh and Jaipur as the top four emerging cities followed by Vadodara, Goa, Indore, Kochi and Nagpur. "While India's urban giants may dominate the business agenda in the short-term due to the sheer size of their human capital clusters, as well as other historical reasons, we believe it is the country's less well-known and smaller towns and cities that are more likely to produce the economic miracles," the report said. Key areas of consumption include healthcare, education, transport communications, food and entertainment, consumer durables and travel, UKIBC added. "Emerging cities across India are prime centres for domestic demand, with a rapidly growing middle-class," the report noted. "India's middle-class today numbers 50 million but is expected to reach 583 million by 2025 - accounting for 41 per cent of the population and 75 per cent of the urban population," it added. "Despite the global slowdown, the continued expansion of the Indian economy is well recognised and many UK companies are keenly aware of the need for an increasingly entrepreneurial approach to doing business in India," the report observed.
Benchmarking Pune as a premier business hub, UKIBC said the city could help create potential linkages with UK industry capacity in the financial services, ICT and creative and media sectors. While Ahmedabad presented plum opportunities for UK companies to invest in media and creative sectors, Chandigarh showed potential for software, IT and BPO.