Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Bajaj Auto keen on China if it opens up

Chinese restrictions on foreign ownership are hindering one of the developing world's largest motorcycle companies from tapping into what could be a lucrative market.

Rahul Bajaj, chairman of Bajaj Auto Ltd, says India's second-biggest motorcycle maker would expand into China, but only if it were able to gain majority foreign ownership, which is currently barred in some sectors including automobiles.

Five years into China's membership in the World Trade Organisation, pressure is growing on the government to open up various sectors of the economy.

"We are expanding very fast in international markets. The only big country (in which) we are not planning anything at the moment is China, because I don't get majority foreign equity," Bajaj said on Tuesday in an interview on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum.

"I want ownership. I can get at most 50 per cent, and I don't like that. That's why I'm saying India is a more open economy than China. (I'm interested in) 100 per cent. If I'm allowed majority foreign equity, I enter," said Bajaj, who has attended the Davos gathering of business and political leaders for nearly 30 years.

Bajaj, which has more than 35 per cent of the Indian motorbike market, has expanded into Indonesia, Southeast Asia's biggest economy, as well as into countries such as Nigeria, Iran and Brazil, which have big two-wheeler and three-wheeler markets.

Source:- EconomicTimes