Top Japanese firms investing heavily in India

NEW DELHI — Top Japanese firms have been announcing several high-profile investments in India, a huge market that has been widely complained about for its formidable trade barriers.

Mitsubishi Corp. is discussing several investments, including a $2 billion joint venture in telecommunications, a senior company official said Feb. 10. But Mitsubishi is just one of several Japanese investors that unveiled plans for India on the same day. An engineering trade fair in New Delhi is hosting a record of 132 Japanese firms.

The proposed telecom project is said to involve basic telephone services, and the firm is reportedly in the middle of talks with the Tata group, India’s largest private-sector group, and RPG Telecom Ltd. Separately, Marubeni Corp. said it has earmarked $100 million for investment in India over the next three years in automobiles, metals and petrochemicals, while liquefied petroleum gas distributor Iwatani International Corp. is said to be in talks with Indian Oil Corp. Ltd., a state-owned entity, to build an LPG import terminal in India valued near $10 million.

Japan is India’s biggest donor of ODA and gave 133.7 billion yen ($1.1 billion) in the 1996-97 fiscal year ending March 31. But it is only the fourth largest investor in India, behind the United States, Germany and Britain.