KUALA LUMPUR: Top executives and entrepreneurs from India are expected to share investment experiences at a business forum to mark the Incredible India promotion here next month.
They would hold discussions with Malaysian counterparts as well as representatives of local chambers of commerce and other businessmen in sectors such as industry, technology, investment, trade and manufacturing.
The Malaysia-India Business Forum, on Dec 2 and 3, is part of an extensive programme that includes the Incredible India Trade and Investment Exhibition (Dec 2 to 6) and a film fest of popular Indian movies (Dec 1 to 6).
The forum and exhibitions would be held at the Putra World Trade Centre while the Indian film festival would be held at the MidValley Mega Mall cineplex.
Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) deputy director-general Dilip Chenoy said the business forum would supplement the visual appeal of the Incredible India Trade and Investment exhibition which would showcase the country’s economic progress in areas as diverse as auto components, communications, textiles, tourism, cement, steel, pharmaceuticals and healthcare.
Over 200 companies would display products at the exhibition while the forum would cover sectors like infrastructure, bio-technology, healthcare, pharmaceuticals, financial services, trade and special economic zones, information and communication technology, tourism, manufacturing, agro-processing and education.
It is organised by the India Trade Promotion Organisation in Malaysia after a lapse of 15 years.
The forum is jointly organised by CII and Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) together with Asian Strategy and Leadership Institute, Kuala Lumpur, Selangor Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers, Construction Industry Development Board and HSBC Malaysia.
“The objective of the forum is to synergise the strengths of India and Malaysia in key sectors to create win-win opportunities for entrepreneurs of both countries.
“We hope it will lead to a proliferation of India-Malaysia joint ventures,” Dilip said in a recent interview in New Delhi.
He said that India registered a 4.3% growth last year but the economy, the second-fastest-growing in the world after China, was expected to grow above 6.5% this year.
“The steady growth in the past decade has put more money in the pockets of an expanding middle class.
He said the potential for more market growth was enormous, a fact recognised by multinationals and Indian companies alike.
In 2001, according to census figures, only 31.6% of India’s 192 million households had a television set and only 2.5% a car, jeep or van.
Dilip said that Indian businessmen would also look at Malaysia as a gateway for Indian products into the Asean market.
“CII has opened an office in Kuala Lumpur to facilitate interaction between businessmen of the two countries. We have already handled several enquiries from Malaysian businessmen,” he said.
Dilip said that India-Asean trade constituted about 6% of India’s total trade, with Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia being the important trading partners.
“Malaysia is one of the most important trading partners of India in the Asean region, with bilateral trade valued at US$2.2bil (RM8.4bil) in 2002-2003,” he said.
India’s exports to Malaysia valued at US$679.42mil (RM2.58bil) were mainly sugar, meat, meat preparations and rice while Malaysia’s exports to India valued at US$1.52bil (RM5.8bil) were mainly edible vegetable oil, electronic goods, wood and wood products.
Dilip said that a report by McKinsey & Company, FICCI and CII had stated that India offered huge business opportunities for the Asean region in seven sectors: pharmaceuticals, healthcare, tourism, information technology, entertainment, infrastructure and financial services.
He said although the share of tourism in India’s gross domestic product was very low at 5.2% compared to other countries, Indian travel and tourism had grown rapidly to be a US$32bil (RM122bil) industry.
He said that both domestic travel and outbound travel had grown significantly over the past three to five years, as Indians were travelling more, especially to South-East Asian countries, driven by currency devaluations.
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