Fri, Feb 18, 2011 - Page 12 News List

Teco considering manufacturing investment in India

RICH POTENTIAL:Group chairman Theodore Huang said Taiwanese firms should look to India not as a cheap production base, but a fast-growing consumer market

By Jason Tan  /  Staff reporter

Teco Group (東元集團) is considering setting up a production facility in India, chairman Theodore Huang (黃茂雄) said yesterday.

The company intends to tap into the world’s second-most populous market to produce industrial electrical parts and possibly become a supplier of domestic companies, including Tata Group — India’s largest automobile maker, Huang said.

The plans are being finalized and the investment timeframe would fall around June, he said, but declined to specify investment figures.

Founded in 1956 to manufacture industrial motors, Teco has grown into a conglomerate that also produces home appliances, telecommunications equipment and electrochemical components, among others.

Huang visited five Indian cities in January last year for an investment feasibility study. On his second trip in March last year, he brought back two Tata Nanos — the flagship model from Tata Group and dubbed the world’s cheapest car with a starting price of US$2,900.

“The proposal to invest in India has met with opposing voices in the company. Many [other firms that] had invested in India did not work out,” Huang said. “Investment barriers, including language problems, are higher there compared with China.”

However, Taiwanese companies should change their mindset about India and stop looking at it as a cheap production hub, but instead consider it as a market with a booming domestic consumption demand, said Huang, who also heads the Taiwan-India Cooperation Council (台灣印度協會).

Huang made the remarks at a press briefing held by the Council for Economic Planning and Development (CEPD), which is leading a nearly 90-member delegation to India on Sunday for a five-day investment road show.

The delegation will hold road shows in New Delhi, Mumbai and Ahmedabad, visit Indian automakers, drug manufacturers and tech firms, and tour economic zones.

In addition to government officials, the delegation members include representatives of Taiwanese firms engaged in the green energy, biomedical and financial fields who are interested in exploring India’s investment environment, the CEPD said.

Council of Economic Planning and Development Minister Christina Liu (劉憶如) said there is room for Taiwan and India to improve bilateral trade ties.

Citing government statistics, she said that from 2000 to last year, Taiwanese investments in India accounted for only 0.1 percent of the nation’s outbound investments, while Indian investments in Taiwan accounted for 0.05 percent of Taiwan’s total foreign direct investments.

“India is a market that Taiwan should pay attention to, judging from its sheer size and market potential. There is a lot of trade growth that could be expected from both sides,” Liu said.

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