Chinese firms seen flocking to India

By Yu Xi and Liu Tian Source:Global Times Published: 2016-5-23 23:13:01

Companies attracted by preferential policies: experts

Street view of New Delhi, India's capital Photo: CFP

Investment in India by Chinese companies in 2015 reportedly rose sixfold from 2014, which is partly thanks to low investment restrictions and favorable tax and land rent policies in the country, experts said on Monday.

Chinese enterprises have been expanding their presence in India in recent years. ICBC set up a special team in its Mumbai branch in 2015 to provide its Chinese clients with consultation services for mergers and acquisitions (M&As) in India, reported on Sunday, saying the move was partly because of the increasing interest in M&As among Chinese enterprises operating in the country.

Property giant Dalian Wanda Group announced in January that it would spend $10 billion in building an industrial park in north India. And in February, construction machinery manufacturer Sany Heavy Industry Co revealed a plan to invest $1 billion in India in the next decade.

China's investment in India soared to around $870 million in 2015, six times that in 2014, reported on Friday, noting that the figure for 2015 was also twice the amount from April 2000 to the end of 2014.

Reasons for investment boom

"More Chinese firms are showing their enthusiasm for investing in India due to its huge market potential, along with low costs and strong demand," Pang Guoteng, a research fellow at Shanghai-based M&A information provider Morning Whistle Group, told the Global Times on Monday.

The Indian economy is also growing rapidly. The IMF estimated in August 2015 that India will see GDP growth of 7.5 percent in 2016.

Besides, the "Make in India" campaign is helping to attract overseas investment, Pang noted.

The "Make in India" program was announced by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014. It aims to build the country into a prominent investment destination and a global center for manufacturing, design and innovation.

"The Indian government hopes overseas investment can boost India's productivity," said Pang, adding that local sectors like infrastructure and the Internet offer good investment opportunities for Chinese enterprises.

Experts also said the policy environment in India is a big part of the reason why the country is attracting more investment from China.

"Currently, there are no laws or regulations restricting Chinese firms from investing in India," Li Qin, a Chinese legal counsel with India-based law firm D.H. Law Associates, told the Global Times on Monday. 

"Not only that, the Indian government also provides favorable tax and land rent policies for big investments that can create a large amount of job opportunities or bring advanced technology to India," Li noted.

For instance, in the state of Andhra Pradesh, projects that create 2,000 jobs are accorded special status and are given tailor-made benefits by the local government, according to the local industrial development policy for the 2015-20 period.

Pang agreed with Li, but noted that Chinese enterprises still need to pay close attention to tax rules, as they vary a lot in different states in India.

Stiff competition

While India offers potential for Chinese firms, there are also challenges.

"The language, culture and market environment there are very different from those in China," said a representative from Chinese smartphone maker Vivo, who wished to remain anonymous.

Vivo opened a factory in India in late 2015, and had more than 8,000 employees there by the end of the year. But competition in the country is intense, the representative told the Global Times Monday.

India, as one of the world's fastest-growing smartphone markets, has attracted global players including Apple, Samsung and China's Xiaomi and Huawei. Apple CEO Tim Cook said last week during his visit to India that Apple planned to move all its existing production lines to India, reported on Monday.

"But compared with firms from Western countries, Chinese companies have geographic and cost advantages," said Pang.

Li, the legal counsel, said that Chinese firms are likely to become more localized in India to better understand the culture. Li cited Huawei as an example, noting that 95 percent of the employees in its local branch are Indian people.

Posted in: Industries, Economy

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