Warren Buffett, the world’s third richest man made his maiden voyage to India at the age of 81. He went there as a philanthropist and as an insurance salesman, the richest and the oldest insurance salesman India will ever see!
As a philanthropist, Buffett wanted India’s wealthy to give, as an insurance agent, Buffett wanted to sell insurance to Indians! Buffett is making his first investment in India selling insurance through Berkshire’s insurance portal, Bajaj Allianz General Insurance.
Buffett was garlanded and given a bright red ’tilak’ on his forehead as was the custom in India, upon his arrival!
Here’s what Buffett had to say about India:
I think (India) is a wonderful place. I wish they had such places all over the world!
I don’t consider India to be an emerging market, but a very big market
I should have been here much sooner
India has done pretty well without my advice
The more India and China prosper the more people in United States would prosper over the long term
We want to be where the action is and the action is here
This is a place where the market is growing, getting more prosperous by the day, where businesses are flourishing. This is a dream market.
Those are pretty strong words coming from Warren Buffett! Prior to this, Buffett had no investments in India. I guess he was watching India’s spectacular growth and waiting for the right opportunity.
Here are some facts about India
- India is the world’s largest democracy, always has been since it’s independence in 1947
- India produced 55 billionaires who made it into the latest Forbes billionaire list
- India is the largest consumer of Gold
- Indian economy grew over 8% in Q4 2010, with an average rate of about 7% since 1997
- In recorded history, no country has been wealthier more number of times than India. (Hence the affinity for gold!)
- India has a population of over 1 billion and home to the world’s largest middle class
- India is world’s 12th largest economy and the second fastest growing economy right behind China
- A number of countries and people have the word ‘India’ or ‘Indian’ since Europeans were trying to find the sea route to the wealthiest nation (at that time) and as soon as they hit land they thought that was India and named the natives Indians! (Now you know why Native Americans are called Indians!)
- India has more than a million millionnaires!
- Avatar is an Indian (Sanskrit) word!
Maybe you are a Buffett fan or an India fan, but what does this mean for you as an Investor? I’ll cover ways to invest in India in the concluding part of this article.