India's Bharti Enterprises, which tied up with Wal-Mart to start a nationwide chain of retail stores, said it will invest approximately US$7 billion in the project by 2010, a report said on Tuesday.
The group, which owns the country's top private phone firm, said it will set up 200 large stores and hundreds of smaller ones to cater to the increasingly affluent Indian middle class, estimated to be made up of 300 million people.
"Depending on what we do in real estate and logistics, we will invest around seven billion dollars by 2010," Sunil Mittal, chairman of the group, told the Business Standard newspaper.
Mittal told the newspaper that the group's realty company will identify property for the venture, from which he expected to earn US$1 billion to US$2 billion in the same period.
Last month the group tied up with Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer, to open stores that would be owned by Bharti and run under a Wal-Mart franchise.
India does not allow foreign investment in retail except for single-brand stores such as Nokia or Nike.
Other foreign groups such as Wal-Mart have to sign franchise deals with local companies to enter the Indian market.
The newspaper report said that the front-end stores would bear the Bharti name, but talks were on to include the Wal-Mart brand as well.
Organized retailing makes up only three to five percent of India's retail business, with the rest dominated by nearly 15 million traditional mom-and-pop stores.
Earlier this year, India's biggest private firm, Reliance, started opening a chain of supermarkets as part of a multibillion-dollar retail rollout.
The company said it aims to have 4,000 stores by 2011, with an annual sales target of US$25 billion.
Other major Indian business houses such as the Tata group and the Aditya Birla Group are also moving into the sector, which has annual turnover of about US$300 billion.
That figure is expected to double by 2015, the consultancy PriceWaterhouseCoopers firm said.
Meanwhile, media reports yesterday said that India is likely to further open up its vast retail market -- one of the world's fastest growing -- to foreign investment.
The government is considering opening up sectors like electronics, sports goods and building equipment, where local businesses are not well established, the Times of India newspaper reported, citing unnamed sources.
Asked about the report, Commerce Minister Kamal Nath told reporters that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had asked him to look into the issue, but he gave no further details.
‘HERO OF THE ERA’: President Tsai Ing-wen expressed deep sadness at Lee’s passing, and told the government to assist his family with all their needs Former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) passed away at 7:24pm yesterday at Taipei Veterans General Hospital. He was 97 years old. The hospital stated the cause of death as septic shock and multiple organ failure. Lee had been hospitalized there since February, when he choked on a mouthful of milk at home. He was later diagnosed with pulmonary infiltrates and aspiration pneumonia. The hospital said that Lee had been treated with antibiotics, but that his health had not improved, as his advanced age and diabetes had inhibited his immune system and led to recurring infections. During his hospitalization, Lee underwent daily kidney dialysis, which removed
‘WEAK POSITIVE’: The man arrived in Taiwan in May and was quarantined for two weeks, Chen Shih-chung said, adding that he might be infected a long time ago The government is considering tightening mask-wearing rules again in light of a potential domestic COVID-19 infection, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said yesterday. The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) confirmed seven new COVID-19 cases, six of which are imported. The other case involves a Belgian engineer who entered Taiwan on May 3 and remained in quarantine until May 17, said Chen, who heads the CECC. Although the source of infection has yet to be identified, the case could end the nation’s record of not having any domestic cases in the previous 110 days. The Belgian, in his 20s, is a technician
RECEIVING TREATMENT: President Tsai Ing-wen, Vice President William Lai and Premier Su Tseng-chang visited former president Lee Teng-hui yesterday morning Taipei Veterans General Hospital yesterday rebutted speculation that former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) had died a day earlier, saying that he was weak, but receiving treatment. The hospital said the 97-year-old Lee was not in good condition and needed ongoing care, adding that if there are any changes in his condition, it would make those public. The comments came after rumors emerged online on Tuesday that Lee had died after being hospitalized since early February. Soon after the unsubstantiated rumors emerged, reporters started flocking to the hospital seeking confirmation. Lee was admitted to Taipei Veterans General Hospital on Feb. 8 after choking while drinking
ROAD TO HISTORY: When Lee Teng-hui joined the KMT, the likelihood of a Taiwanese becoming ROC president, much less its first directly elected one, was hard to imagine Lee Teng-hui (李登輝), who was born on Jan. 15, 1923, in the farming community of Sanshi Village, Taihoku Prefecture — now New Taipei City’s Sanzhi District (三芝) — during the Japanese colonial era, and rose to become mayor of Taipei and not only the Republic of China’s (ROC) first Taiwan-born president, but its first directly elected one as well. Educated in the Japanese educational system of the time, Lee, who spoke Japanese, Hoklo (also known as Taiwanese), Mandarin and English, won a scholarship to Kyoto Imperial University, but his studies were interrupted by World War II. He earned a bachelor’s