Indian firms get entry point to Europe

By siliconindia staff writer   |   Thursday, 21 August 2003, 07:00 Hrs
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PUNE: The Belgian region of Flanders is positioning itself as the entry point for Indian companies, either manufacturing or IT, to address the European market, reports a business daily in India.

For IT companies, the suggestion is that they use Flanders as an outsourcing hub for the rest of the European Union (EU), which also does away with the issue of multiple work permits. Officials pointed out that Indian employees can be placed there provided these are high end jobs, requiring specific qualifications, mandated by the high unemployment rate prevailing there.

For the manufacturing sector, specifically the auto component, the benefits of locating in Belgium are that it is within a 500 kms radius of car companies which annually assemble 8 million cars, Ben De Smit, director, business development, FIFO, Asia, said.

He was speaking at a seminar organised by the Mahratta Chamber of Commerce Industries and Agriculture (MCCIA) here to promote investment in the Flanders region.

De Smit met Pune's IT community where issues of concern were addressed. While advocating setting up of-fices in Belgium he also pointed to the opportunity presented by the need to outsource. Since Belgium outsources just 5 per cent of its euro 31 billion ICT work, Indian companies can pitch for a slice of that pie, the potential being greatest in the IT and telecom services sectors.

Pointing to the strategic location of Flanders in Europe's ‘golden banana', De Smit said this region accounts for 10 per cent of surface but produces over 50 per cent of the goods. The golden banana extends from the manufacturing hubs of Liverpool-Manchester-Edinburgh to Belgium, southern Holland, parts of Germany, Switzerland and northern Italy.

With the increasing emphasis of Indian auto component manufacturers seeking to integrate into the supply chain of the world's leading auto companies, the logistics companies are eyeing this sector, for in-bound as well as out-bound logistics management.

matthias Krampe, business development manager, EMEA, Automobile division, Caterpillar Logistics Services Germany, GmbH and Co., KG, said the current focus is on the Asia Pacific market. Caterpillar Logistics has recently opened a representative office in Shanghai and is looking at the Indian region, too.

"We will take it a chunk at a time and would prefer a joint venture partner who is familiar with the country and has contacts deep into the region," Krampe said. (Source: ET)

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