Looking to expand in China: Tatas

Looking to expand in China: Tatas

Beijing: With Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao promising to remove trade barriers to Indian goods, the Tata Group on Friday said it is looking to expand its businesses in Asia’s largest economy, which accounted for about 6% of its overall turnover in the previous fiscal.

“Last year, the Tata Group’s turnover in China touched $4 billion, amounting to about 6% of its overall business," said B. Muthuraman, the chairman of Tata International and vice-chairman of Tata Steel, two major subsidiaries of the Tata Group, according to the official state English language newspaper, China Daily.

50% of Tata’s turnover in China was derived from its auto businesses, led by sales of luxury cars like Jaguar and Land Rover after the acquisition of the brands from British car-maker Jaguar and Land Rover in 2008, he said.

The group is now poised to expand its other businesses in China, he said, adding that it has already ventured into areas like steel, consulting, IT outsourcing and hotels.

What is more, TCS has emerged as the largest Indian software business company servicing Chinese state-run groups.

Besides the Tatas, a number of other Indian companies based in China are looking to ramp up their business, as the countries have set a $100 billion target for bilateral trade by 2015, compared to record trade worth $60 billion registered this year.

Wen, who concluded a three-day visit to India today, has promised to address the trade imbalance by providing more market access to Indian companies, especially those in the IT, pharma and agro-products space.

Muthuraman hoped that China would be more receptive to companies like Tata becoming involved in China’s economy in the context of Jiabao’s visit. He noted that Tata set up a joint venture with Zhejiang Tea Import & Export Co Ltd in 2007 to manufacture and market green tea in the country.

He said he believes his company needs to accelerate the pace of development to keep pace with China, as global economic power shifts from the West to the East.

“India and China represent the future. We will become two of world’s three top economies over the next 20-year. So there is a need for India and China to understand each other on the business front," he said.

Tata is one of the first Indian companies to have established business links with China, with Founder Jamsetji Tata opening a branch of his uncle’s company in Hong Kong in 1859. Several months later, he moved to Shanghai, where he remained until 1863.

However, Tata’s relationship with China was terminated by the start of the 20th century and only resumed in 1996 when Tata International set up an office in Shanghai to trade in steel and other products, signalling the start of Tata’s business in modern China, the newspaper said.