Automakers, engineering parts manufacturers and cable car producers from the Czech Republic have committed to increasing investments in India. Foremost among this is Skoda, manufacturing cars out of Aurangabad looking to boost local hiring and expand production facilities.
"We expect upcoming strategic investments into the engineering manufacturing space to play a big role in improving long-term trade and investments", Czech ambassador to India Milan Hovorka told Business Standard. This includes firms such as Elcomponic Ray Systems — a top cable harness manufacturer for the aviation and military industries, expected to soon start production in Noida. Also on the list is Bonatrans — the manufacturer of rail wheelsets operating out of Aurangabad, Maharashtra.
Companies have also integrated their manufacturing processes to focus on making in India with the Skoda Rapid now being the most localised car and others closely set to follow suit, said Hovorka.
The Czech Republic is currently India's 3rd largest export destination for engineering goods in Europe, a high tech enabled market seeing significant price appreciation over the past few years. The small Central European nation may, however, catch up with regional biggies France and Germany, where most of India's engineering-based shipments in an automobile, aviation, and machinery go with more firms from each side venturing into business linkages, a senior Indian exporter with interests in the country said.
In 2016-17, Indian exports of $533 million include more than $200 million worth of industrial machinery, aviation and automobile components and growing shipments of iron and steel. Pharmaceuticals and organic chemicals made up other important exports.
Bilateral trade is also incredibly balanced with imports totaling at $539 in the same year. Currently, the country supplies key machinery equipment integral to the oil and gas and railways sectors.
The country is also the partner nation at the 7th International Engineering Sourcing Show to be held in Chennai, where more than a dozen companies from the nation is set to take part, Hovorka said.
Organised by the Engineering Exports Promotion Council, the show is expected to run from 8-10 March and host more than 400 exhibitors and 10,000 buyers including more than 500 major overseas players looking to source from India. The show is also set to focus on vendor development programmes with leading Public Sector Undertakings in Defence, Space, Infrastructure, and Engineering.
Other sectors such as tourism and education are also getting the attention of policymakers from both nations as more than 66,000 Indian tourists visited the country last year, seeing a continuous year-on-year rise. Interestingly, the largest Czech player in India is a firm far removed from engineering or manufacturing. It is financial services company called Home Credits with 20,000 employees.
From the Indian side, auto component makers like Motherson Sumi and Varroc Group, firms in the agri processing sector such as Tata Global Beverages and Information Technology giants like Infosys have a large presence in the Czech Republic.