There have been recurrent media reports that a handful of Chinese automobile companies are making inroads into the Indian market. It seems the chapter has already begun as the world's largest commercial vehicle maker, China's Beiqi Foton Motor has announced its plans to build a plant in Maharashtra. An MOU to this effect was signed in the presence of the Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Prithiviraj Chavan. The Chairman of Beiqi Foton Motor Heyi Xu and the Azeez M Khan Principal Secretary (Industries, Energy and Labour Department), Maharashtra Government signed the MOU recently in Mumbai, India. The Memorandum of Understanding for investment in India, intents Foton’s commitment to launch a full range of commercial vehicles in the Indian market and set up manufacturing and sales operations in India.
The Chinese giant will be setting up a State of Art manufacturing plant in Maharashtra and is in the process of identifying suitable land along with Mumbai Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC).
The President of Beiqi Foton Motor Jinyu Wang said, "The Indian commercial vehicle sector is the world's fourth-largest and is expected to grow rapidly. Foton is the first amongst the Chinese auto makers to invest and setup facilities in India. With an investment outlay of Rs.1,676 crore for Indian operations, Beiqi Foton aims to create products suited to meet the needs of Indian environment and conditions.”
Speaking on the ambitious plan, Rakesh Kalra, Managing Director Designate, India Operations, Beiqi Foton Motor, noted, “We at Foton have studied the needs of Indian customers and our offerings will be ideally suited for them. Our vision is to introduce a full range of Commercial Vehicles in a phased manner. Our sourcing strategy will lay a lot of emphasis on supplies from Indian suppliers and our operations will largely deploy talent from India.”
With these plans, Foton looks at creating tremendous business opportunities for local manufacturers. The process will also generate employment and growth opportunities for the region, more so since the core vision of the company is localisation.
The signing of MOU with the Maharashtra Government marks a stride for Foton towards its globalisation strategy. Foton has set-up CKD Operations in Russia, Iran, Pakistan, Vietnam, and Indonesia, Kenya and other countries and exports to over 100 countries around the globe. It has 14 plants spread across China and caters to a wide segment of the commercial vehicle market through its state-of-the-art plants and manufacturing processes.
Beiqi Foton Motor Co., Ltd., shortened to Foton or BFC, was founded on August 28, 1996. It is a Chinese holding company with different types of ownership and a company listed in the stock exchange market. Its business operation extends in various regions and sectors. Headquartered in Changping District, Beijing, Foton possesses assets exceeding 5 billion Yuan and 28,000 employees. Foton's business units are seen in cities and provinces such as Beijing, Tianjin, Shandong, Hebei, Hunan, Hubei, Liaoning, and Guangdong. And its R&D branches are distributed in Japan, Germany, and Taiwan. Foton, whose brand value exceeds 11.932 billion Yuan in 2005, ranked No.4 in auto industry and No.43 in the ‘Top 500 China's Most Valuable Brands’. Foton manufactures light and heavy-duty trucks, agricultural tractors, and various other machineries.