GE steps up healthcare investment in India
By siliconindia | Friday, 16 March 2007, 05:00 Hrs
Bangalore: US giant General Electric's healthcare unit will step up investments and expand its workforce in India, seeking to tap a booming market for medical equipment and plentiful engineering talent. "India is a key part of our globalisation effort," Joe Hogan, president and chief executive of GE Healthcare, said to a national daily. "Based on the globalisation standpoint and the inherent growth of the Indian marketplace, we will continue to aggressively invest here," he added. UK-based GE Healthcare, the only General Electric unit to be headquartered outside the US, has invested $100 million (Rs440 crore) so far in India where it employs 2,200 people and manufactures equipment including X-Ray, ultrasound and electro cardiogram machines. Hogan did not specify the size of the planned investment or recruitment. The Indian arm?s sales at home and abroad reached $450 million in 2006 and local business is growing at an annual pace of 20%, said V Raja, who oversees local operations. India, where the company has a third of its engineering workforce, also contributes about 15 percent of GE Healthcare?s manufacturing output. In order to expand, GE Healthcare is seeking to take advantage of India?s engineering talent rather than save on labour costs, said Hogan. "Around 10 years ago, India was about arbitrage on labour," he said. "Today, I don?t look at it that way at all. I look at India as a place where you can find some of the best engineers in the world. That?s why we have to be around, to make sure that we use that talent not just for the Indian marketplace but also all over the world." GE Healthcare, a $17 billion business, is focussing on India to take advantage of an economy expanding at 9 percent a year and an affluent middle-class estimated to make up a third of the country?s 1.1 billion population. As incomes rise and medical insurance coverage spreads, more Indians are able to afford expensive medical care and private healthcare institutions are mushrooming to cater to the demand.