The Japan Retailers Association on Friday said that India is one of the most vibrant and potential markets and over a dozen players from the East Asian nation are willing to invest here, provided the Indian government relaxes foreign direct investment norms in the sector.
It said that at a time when the home market in Japan has saturated, major players are ready to invest up to USD 10 million individually in India -- mainly in the multi-branded segment where FDI is currently prohibited.
"In the last few years, the retail scenario in India has become most promising but we will be even more happy if current restrictions on FDI are removed. The big Japanese chains are interested in entering India's multi-brand retail trade," JRA Director Jun Omi told PTI.
Omi is the head of a seven-member team which is in India to study the organised retail market of the country.
He said the Japanese companies are willing to explore the franchise option also and JRA on Friday held discussions with Gaurav Marya-promoted Indian Franchise Association in this regard.
"Japanese retail firms have invested heavily in China over the years and the next frontier for us is India. We are interested in various product segments like apparels, merchandise and electronic items," Omi said.
Major Japanese retail companies like Yong, Seven & Holdings and Ito Yokado currently have huge bases in China and South-East Asian countries with scores of supermarkets and back-end sourcing.
The JRA said its members are not interested in venturing into the Indian wholesale cash-and-carry market, like some of their western counterparts like Walmart and Tesco.
"Japanese retail items are basically known for being high-end but with foray into India we could even tap the sourcing market here to make value products," Omi said.
Currently, only around five per cent of the Indian retail market of over USD 450 billion is under the organised segment. Under government rules, FDI of up to 51 per cent is allowed in single-brand retailing, while no FDI is allowed in the multi-brand segment.
Presently, none of the Japanese retail chains have operations in India, while some players like Asaka Corp do small amount of sourcing.