Chandrakant Salunkhe expects boost to India China relations

He is also the founder of the India-China Business Council and Federation of Indian SME Associations.
Rebello Dominic RN BhaskarUpdated: Tuesday, March 21, 2023, 08:03 AM IST
India and China should come together to manufacture for the world market, says SME body founder Chandrakant Salunkhe (left) |As a serial entrepreneur and “SME rights activist”, Salunkhe has founded the “SME Chamber of India” in 1993. The objective was to support SMEs for better business growth, international connectivity for exports, joint venture, technology transfer, contract manufacturing, merger & acquisitions, import facilitation and channelizing finance & investment.He is also the founder of the India-China Business Council and Federation of Indian SME Associations.

He has a commerce background with intensive experience in Business Management. He works towards resolving issues and problems of the Industry and SME Sectors.

Under his leadership, the above organisations have been organising national and international level activities for the promotion of Industries and SMEs, Investment, International Cooperation and providing interactive and networking platform for identifying new business opportunities as well as imparting knowledge and education.

In conversation with Dominic Rebello and RN Bhaskar (both from the Free Press Journal) he talks about why the governments and the private sectors from both India and China should come out with a strategy to further develop their relationships and enhance the economic co-operation between the two countries.

What is your perspective on the India-China trade front?

India and China are both developing very well. Due to the changing global scenario, India is developing its manufacturing capabilities very well.

Secondly, I feel India and China should come together as commercial partners and supply to the world market. China too has the capabilities to manufacture a large quantity for the world market.

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When I visited China for first time in 1990, I felt that Chinese products are ‘use and throw’ products. But now, the products that they manufacture, are excellent with  patented quality and patented technology. They have so many patents and this can be a good lesson for Indian entrepreneurs. Their products are highly valued and Indian businessmen can learn many things from the Chinese on the quality, quantity and competitiveness fronts. In China I have seen many industrial parks and industries running with the latest technology. It’s really wonderful.

Now coming back to the point on how India and China should develop their relationship, the most important factor is that all diplomatic relations have to be improved drastically. Currently, there is a conflict of interest. The military activities at the borders are disturbing the relationship.

As the pandemic is almost over in China and India, this is the right time to build a good bridge between the two countries, especially for economic growth. The trade between the two countries is growing. And the Chinese are looking to explore more markets in India and setting up businesses here. The government is seriously reviewing these proposals and is giving them permissions to set up their businesses here.

Most of the Chinese companies are large and you are in charge of the MSME sector. How do you do think the MSME sector can participate with China? Is it in joint manufacturing? Is it in trade or do you see it in some other activity?

When we run our business, we look at our competitors first. Whoever does business has to focus particularly on their competitors. No one wants their competitors to destroy their businesses.

We will provide opportunities to Chinese companies to establish their businesses in India, start their manufacturing, use local facilities available to manufacture here, to provide employment here and to sell to other countries. But we do not want products and competition in the products that we are manufacturing. If we allow this, it may destroy the business environment for Indian companies.

My association is focusing on securing the interest of the SME sector in a way that it does not impact their growth.

I have been involved with the India-China Business Council for the last 20 years. The important objective of this council is securing the interests of the Indian industries, particularly those dealing with Chinese companies and suppliers, to avoid disturbance between the economic relationship or business relationship. We focus on understanding the business environment in China, understand the business mindset of the Chinese and understanding what the potential opportunities exist for Indian industries in China.

Secondly, Indian companies are importing many products from China. Currently, there are plenty of hurdles in identifying genuine suppliers, genuine manufacturers, quality manufacturers, [and issues relating to] quality and quantity, and most importantly the competitive cost.

So, India-China Business Council is playing a very important role in providing the value added services to businesses, either in India or in China and is bringing them together, providing them a platform for a discussion to them explore business opportunity, business co-operation and not to disturb each other businesses.

How many relationships you have established in the last 2 years?

The Chinese people, authorities, businessmen, consulates in Mumbai or embassy in Delhi, all are superb while dealing with us. I do not have any negative point about them. We have even circulated information amongst the Indian industries, particularly businesses those are dealing with China that if they have any problem, or issues, or hurdles or any grievances related to Chinese companies or authorities, please come to us. So far no one has approached us.

Do you have any joint ventures in your association, either for trade or for manufacturing?

We have collaborations with many organisations in China, such as CCPIT. I have attended many exhibitions and have established good relations in Kunshan and Ningbo.

The point is Indian industry should understand how the Chinese people do business. What is their concept, what are the ideas that they are adopting. Nevertheless, my Indian business community is also very clever, very knowledgeable, very skilled, and has proper knowledge about trade. They are also adopting business ethics, good governance and fair business practices. We expect the same thing from China businessmen too. They can work with the Indian companies to establish their business and also enhance the business co-operation.

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And where do you see  relationships going in the next few months?

In the last six months, the Indian government, particularly the Ministry of National Affairs, Commerce Ministry, and even the Chinese Ministry are developing discussions. They are pursuing the issues and problems that are plaguing both the nations.

So, going ahead, how many new collaborations you think you will be able to establish in India?

Very few Chinese collaborations are taking place. However, some Chinese companies are establishing their businesses in India, especially in Maharashtra, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. Recently, a Chinese company set up its plant in Chennai. They have invested around Rs 4,500 crore and are manufacturing construction equipment and are employing around 6,000 people. I am sure collaborations with Indian companies will happen going forward. I would prefer that Chinese companies come with their technology and contract manufacturing and sell to the world market instead of setting up their business and constructing their industry here. We have a large number of Indian industries, while they have additional industrial premises. They have state-of-the-art manufacturing units and also have industrial land available. The government is providing industrial land so that they can collaborate with Indian industries to manufacture here too.

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Are you positive about this relationship?

Yes, I would suggest to the governments and the private sectors from India and China, they should come out with a strategy where we can develop our relationship between the countries and enhance the economic co-operation. If we are capable, we can sell to the Chinese market and to the world market. If China is capable, they can also sell to India or other countries. But we have to secure the interest of the Indian industries, the Indian community and also the Chinese community and Chinese businesses where we should not have any conflict of interest.


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