China's Haier, said the world's fifth-biggest white goods maker, hopes to own up to 15 percent of India's booming consumer-goods market and boost its fortunes in the face cutthroat competition at home.
India's consumer goods sector, currently worth U.S. $4 billion, is growing robustly as an increasingly affluent 300-million-strong middle class snaps up appliances.
India is Asia's fastest growing economy, having expanded 10.4 percent in the October to December 2003 quarter.
"We plan to contribute 7 to 10 percent to Haier's global turnover in 6 years time," Tarun Kumar Banerjee, president of Haier Appliances India, told Reuters in an interview. "That's at least a billion dollars, and I reckon that our market share in India should be around 12 to 15 percent down the line."
China's Haier group, which sells about half of its appliances overseas through retailers such as Wal-Mart, began selling air-conditioners, washing machines, refrigerators, microwave ovens, and televisions in India earlier this year.
"We can expect this market to double in the next five years," Mr. Banerjee said.
Haier, based in China's northeastern city of Qingdao, competes with the Indian units of South Korea's LG and Samsung Electronics, Whirpool, Philips, and domestic firms such as BPL Ltd. and Voltas Ltd.
Other consumer goods firms in the country include the Japan-based companies Sony and Hitachi and Electrolux AB of Sweden.
Mr. Banerjee said Haier was expecting sales of 3 billion rupees (approx. U.S. $68.5 million) in the first year in India, where the firm plans to invest $12 million initially.
Currently, Haier is importing high-end fridges, televisions, air-conditioners, and washing machines from China, while some smaller televisions and fridges are being sourced locally. The company plans to add mobile phones and computer monitors to its product offerings during the next few months. (Reuters)
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