Indian business sees political green signal for China
BEIJING: "You cannot be a businessman and ignore the Chinese market that is growing at 50 percent per annum, says Anand Mahindra, president of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), the country's premier business lobby group.
"My advice to my company when I go back will be 'Forget other markets for the time being, go for China'," says Mahindra, the CMD of Mahindra & Mahindra who is leader of the 75-strong Indian business delegation, one of the largest such business delegations to travel to any country.
"You can see the quantum leap that China has taken in the last decade just from the building boom and the construction cranes all around," says Mahindra, surveying the landscape of skyscrapers and frenetic building activity going on all over this economically bustling city from his 12th floor suite at the humongous Beijing Hotel.
With a phenomenal 9.9 percent growth rate in the last quarter and some industries such as software, telecom or steel "ravenous" for collaborations and investment, China is "a manufacturing story, an export story and a growth story" that is waiting to be tapped in its exploding business potential.
China, for instance, consumed 180 million tonnes of steel last year, more than the combined requirements of the U.S. and Japan.
China is one of the largest telecom markets in the world, with China Telecom, the government-owned company being the largest fixed-line telephone provider in the world.
China is set to become the world's fifth largest pharmaceutical market with projected revenues of over $24 billion, more than triple its present size.
Mahindra says Chinese businessmen no longer view India as a competitor nor are they a jealous rival to India's software industry, but see huge potential for synergy and complementarity.
With the signing of the Joint Declaration by the two prime ministers Monday, Mahindra says Indian businessmen, who have been increasingly eyeing the Chinese market for the last few years but have been hesitant to plunge, have now got the political go-ahead they were waiting for.
He said the proof of growing Indian interest in China was reflected in the trade figures - exports are up 100 percent in three months while imports have only increased by 42 per cent, turning the total trade from a deficit to a surplus one in India's favour in just three months.
The trade volume, which is presently $5 billion, is projected to double to $10 billion by 2005 and $15 billion by 2010.
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