INTERVIEW: Taiwan-India economic relationship expected to grow
India is actively wooing foreign investors for its fast-growing economy and market. With a population of 1.3 billion, many of whom are keen to upgrade their consumer electronics, the South Asian nation presents huge business potential for Taiwanese firms seeking to cut their dependence on China and deepen their presence elsewhere in Asia. India-Taipei Association Director-General Sridharan Madhusudhanan shared his views on how Taiwan and India could build each other up economically during an exclusive interview with ‘Taipei Times’ staff reporter Crystal Hsu at his office yesterday morning
Taipei Times: How would you describe the overall growth of bilateral relations between India and Taiwan?
Sridharan Madhusudhanan: The India-Taiwan relationship is growing and characterized by a high degree of complementarity. Last year, Taiwan’s government introduced the “new southbound policy.” Similarly, India is adopting a new policy called Act East Policy. The synergy of the two policies injects new momentum to the bilateral relationship.
India is the fastest-growing economy in the world, with GDP growth of more than 7 percent. It has a population of 1.3 billion people, with an average age of 29. Many people want to buy clothes, electronic goods, machinery tools, petrochemical products and other things.
Many countries are already participating in and benefiting from India’s economic growth.
In recent years, India has received the fast-growing foreign investment in Asia, with Taiwan contributing a small share. There is obviously a huge mismatch between Taiwan and the rest of the world. This is where we can help bridge.
TT: What is the significance of the economic logic of this relationship? How is it playing out?
Madhusudhanan: Currently, we have 900 million people using mobile phones, with 250 million of them smartphones. That is a rapid addition of 150 million from just two years ago. It also means a vast market [of 650 million] is going to change within the next few years.
In India, there are still 350 million [cathode ray] tube TVs. This suggests huge and immediate business potential for smartphone and flat-panel TV makers. Firms can make and sell in India, or make in India and export elsewhere.
Taiwan is reaching out for more connections in South Asia and transforming its economic model with a focus on innovation and branding. Innovation requires collaboration, and we welcome international brands.
The start-up market is also huge in India. India is inviting partners with capital, capability and cutting-edge technology to join in its growth.
TT: How have Taiwanese corporations fared in India?
Madhusudhanan: Taiwan’s corporations have invested in India in the diverse fields of information and communications technology [ICT], medical devices, automobile components, machinery, steel, electronics, construction, engineering, financial services and more.
In the last few years alone, Taiwanese companies that have invested in India include Cheng Shin Rubber Industry Co [正新橡膠], CTCI Corp [中鼎工程], Delta Electronics Inc [台達電], HTC Corp [宏達電], Feng Tay Enterprise Co [豐泰鞋業], Asustek Computer Inc [華碩], China Steel Corp [中鋼] and MediaTek Inc [聯發科], to name just a few.
Cheng Shin Rubber, which sells its products under the Maxxis brand, has received orders filled up to 2019. The Taiwanese companies in India have long-term interests in India. They are growing well and their scope remains enormous.
TT: Is the India-Taiwan relationship restricted to the economic field?
Madhusudhanan: The relationship is multifaceted. Recently, we signed cooperative documents connecting the fields of agriculture, mountain railways and civil airlines.
There is a steady growth of relationships in the field of science and technology. The cooperation has included joint research projects and workshops. A total of 72 joint research projects have been carried out.
The cooperation areas include earthquake-related science and engineering, disaster management, nanotechnology, tropical and infectious diseases and ICT among others. Both sides intend to work together in new areas such as “green” energy and innovation.