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CII sees big China market
Abhishek Kaul & Partha Ghosh in New Delhi | June 18, 2003 13:17 IST
It is the turn of Indian companies to invade the Chinese market now, with the fear of invasion by cheap Chinese products becoming a thing of the past.
Tarun Das, director-general of the Confederation of Indian Industry, on Tuesday said, "We do not fear the Chinese anymore. Instead, the visit of the CII delegation to China this month coinciding with Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's sojourn is an invasion of the Chinese market by Indian companies."
He told Business Standard that having consolidated themselves in the past few years, Indian manufacturing firms were now seeking to tap foreign markets and China had a great potential.
Das said, "Indian exports to China in the first quarter of the current financial year grew briskly at 96 per cent. Last year, Indian exports to China stood at $5 billion."
Bilateral trade has also been on a rise. The growth has prompted the industry association to state that the $10 billion mark will be achieved in 2005, instead of the original estimate of 2010.
Officials of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, which is also sending its delegation to China at the same time as CII, echo Das' views.
Vinita Sethi, deputy director, Ficci, said several segments of the Chinese business, such as banking and retailing, were now opening up.
Indian software companies could tap the Chinese market which was currently computerising its financial sector, she added.
"Indian infotech companies can provide software to Chinese banks and stock exchanges, which are currently getting computerised," she said.
Sethi said Ficci would also stress for formalising the informal trade worth $3-5 billion.
Das said the Indo-Chinese relationship in the past had been one of mistrust and inadequate communication. This would change with the Prime Minister's visit to China, he added.
He said China was a controlled economy where major decisions were taken by the political leaders. Political relationships thus determine trade relations.
Vajpayee's visit will help build a sustainable political relationship with China, which will translate into considerable business gains.
Das said for bilateral trade to thrive, free movement of individuals between the countries was needed.
However, obtaining visas is a tedious process. Das, however, expects this issue to be resolved during the Prime Minister's visit.
He also said the number of flights to China needed to increase from its current quota of once a week.
Flights should also cover Shanghai because it is China's business Capital, he added.