‘India must get formula for growth correct’: Kojin Nakakita

By: | Published: August 5, 2015 12:11 AM

Hitachi Ltd, the Japanese conglomerate with business interests spanning energy, IT, automotives to consumer dura-bles announced its India business strategy 2015

Hitachi Ltd, the Japanese conglomerate with business interests spanning energy, IT, automotives to consumer dura-bles announced its India business strategy 2015, which is woven around a deep engagement with India’s strategic growth initiatives like developing skills, establishing digital highways and smart cities, delivering quality healthcare, modernising the railways, among others. K Nakakita, managing director of Hitachi India Pvt Ltd, tells FE’s Siddhartha P Saikia why “Modi-nomics” is so important for companies like Hitachi. Excerpts:

What excites you about the opportunity in India?

India’s biggest strength lies in its diversity, cultural heritage and values. This diversity also translates into business opportunities. The needs and wants of the citizens change the moment we cross a state or a territory. This is fascinating and it has always allowed us to think out-of-the-box ever since we began building relationships with stakeholders in India over 80 years ago. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government is focusing on creating new jobs and opportunities for skilled labour even as he tries to tackle pressing issues related to fuel, food, basic healthcare, energy, and social and industrial infrastructure — all are areas where Hitachi is a world leader—through bold structural reforms that are aligned with, what is today well-known as “Modi-nomics”, making India important in the context of Hitachi’s global growth and we are excited by the possibilities here.

What challenges do you foresee as you execute your India business strategy?

Policies like Make in India, Digital India and Smart Cities are excellent initiatives because they offer domestic and foreign companies the possibility of doing business in India with ease, which will impact India and its position on the World Bank’s ‘Ease of Doing Business’ index. This is a current challenge not just for us but for all businesses. India must get the formula for growth correct and challenges often exist in the execution of projects. It must be said here that it is heartening to see that the government is showing good intent on its promises and making actual progress. Such initiatives must help India develop both the social infrastructure that it so urgently needed, along with advanced industrial infrastructure across a range of businesses and industries and these are all areas where Hitachi can contribute.

What are the key initiatives you are exploring in India?

At the end of 2012, Hitachi had committed to double the number of employees to 13,000 in India, of which we achieved nearly 10,000 employee count by end of 2014; and to invest 70 billion yen ($587 m) from fiscal 2012 to fiscal 2015, of which 60-70% had been spent by end-2014. We expect investment to go up in the years to come. Our aim is to expand consolidated revenues in India to 210 billion yen in FY15. Hitachi, in collaboration with CII, has formed a consortium to create successful pilots projects and replicate them across the country for setting up 100 smart cities. In healthcare, we have conducted a feasibility study at the AIIMS in relationship with NEDO, primarily aimed at analysing the existing energy efficiency condition of the hospital.

Where do you see bilateral collaboration between Japan and India finally taking off?

India and Japan are natural partners in progress spanning a range of areas. Japan was one of the first countries that Mr Modi visited after being elected as the Prime Minister. I feel Japan’s current engagements are just skimming the surface of a huge and transformative opportunity. As new policies make the ease of doing business a reality in India I am positive bilateral collaboration will emerge in a number of areas.

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