Financial Times is in the process of augmenting its presence in India. The international business publication is planning a South Asia edition, which would be printed from India. FT is awaiting a final government to go ahead for this. Khozem Merchant has been identified as Country Head and Business Development Director, while MediaScope is partnering for the sales function.
Angela MacKay, Regional Commercial Director, Asia Pacific, told exchange4media that FT had identified India as one of its key focus areas. She said, “We have gone through all required permissions except for a final approval and then we begin.” Speaking more on the plans, she said, “We are very clear that we aren’t competing with the current publications in the space as they are very good with what they are doing and know the market inside out.”
“What we can compete on, however, is presenting the international perspective on international and Indian developments. Our target in India is to reach the very elite audience and not a mass audience. We are very clear in our objectives on these counts,” said MacKay.
The team, the infrastructure and even the arrangements for printing the edition have already been identified. The markets that the paper would concentrate on in India include Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Bangalore and Chennai. FT will also use the print medium and direct marketing to promote the new edition.
The publication is also high on the dedicated Indian website, FT.com/India. “India is very important for us and we have a very good website with some great columnists, Mr Ninan being one of them,” MacKay said.
Throwing further light on the reasons behind this focus on the Indian market, MacKay said, “India and China are the fastest growing markets the world over today. Indian clients are looking at international markets to grow themselves and international players are eyeing relations in India. We can serve these needs with the expertise we have in the domain. There couldn’t have been a better time to be in India.”
She also asserted that this did not affect the Business Standard-Financial Times relation in any way. The FT branded page and the content sharing would continue as it is.
FT has four editions at present – US, UK, Europe and the Asia Pacific. Nearly 80 per cent of the content is the same across these editions, while 20 per cent is tailored to the market. The 23 printing sites that the publication has are all on contractual basis and this would be the business model in India as well.
Mackay was appointed Regional Commercial Director, Asia Pacific, in June 2004. Based at the regional headquarters in Hong Kong, she manages advertising sales revenues for Financial Times, both print and online, across 16 countries in the Asia Pacific region.