Chhattisgarh is the latest Indian state, after Haryana and Andhra Pradesh, to aggressively seek investments from China, with chief minister Raman Singh saying his state wants to learn from a Chinese province that has emerged as a development hub.
Centrally located Chhattisgarh wants to gain from the experiences of the similarly situated Henan province and discussions are being held to woo investors from the Chinese region to his state, Singh said on Thursday.
Zhengzhou, the capital of Henan located 700 km south of Beijing, has been developed as the central China railway hub, connecting key cities across the country. Singh said similar plans could be initiated for Chhattisgarh.
The effort to link Indian states and Chinese provinces is being cultivated under the bilateral idea of promoting local or state-to-state relations. Like Chhattisgarh, Henan has a long history and is considered the “cradle of Chinese civilisation”.
Speaking to Hindustan Times in Zhengzhou after a day of meetings with top officials, Singh said his focus is on “attracting Chinese investment in clean-energy sectors like solar power, electronics and information technology”.
“They (Chinese companies) are welcome to invest in non-core sectors like solar energy, IT, equipment manufacturing and food processing,” he said.
Nineteen sectors have been identified to attract foreign investments and the focus will be manufacturing. “The renewed thrust is coming under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Make in India’ campaign,” Singh said.
Despite safety issues linked to the Maoist insurgencyin Chhattisgarh, Singh said foreign companies will not have problems as incidents of violence have fallen in most parts of the state.
Chinese companies already have a presence in Chhattisgarh’s power sector, with companies such as Dongfang Electric and Shanghai Electric supplying critical equipment to power plants.
Leading Chinese companies making laptops and smartphones have begun talks on opportunities in the state, Singh said.
India offers new opportunities for Chinese consumer electronics companies as growth saturates in China. Singh said there are opportunities for Chinese firms to explore investment opportunities in Naya Raipur, a new development that is expected to become a smart city hub.
Among the advantages of doing business in Chhattisgarh is the cost – according to Singh, it is cheaper than most states, especially the price of power. “Power is surplus in the state,” he said. The ease of doing business too has been streamlined over the years.
Singh met Chen Run’er, the new governor of Henan, and invited him to contribute to the Make in India initiative by investing in Chhattisgarh.
“There are ample investment opportunities in Chhattisgarh and we seek your support in promoting economic and cultural collaboration between the two states,” he told the governor.