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How to get the ‘specialty chemistry’ right and make India, China’s plus one

India has already proved its worth in complex chemistry. But attracting more foreign investments will need fixes on the ground

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Published 2 months ago on Jun 04, 2021 20 minutes Read

Global companies are looking to reduce their dependence on China, and competition among supplier countries is intense. India has an advantage in complex chemistry as also in its large, consuming population, which can give any company propulsion fuel to take off. But there are other considerations such as the cost of infrastructure and supply-chain efficiency, and in these, the score is far from favourable. Can we hope to turn these around? At Advantage India Chemical Summit, Outlook Business talks to an expert panel, including Narayan Krishnamohan, managing director, BASF India and head of BASF South Asia; Janardhanan Ramanujalu, vice president and regional head, SABIC South Asia; Rahoul Sawani, managing director, South Asia, Corteva Agriscience; Amit Chopra, managing director, India and South Asia, Thermo Fisher Scientific; and Ravi Raghavan, editor and publisher of Chemical Weekly. The discussion was moderated by editor N Mahalakshmi and Hardik Joshipura, CEO of Innovassynth Technologies, also a partner for the Summit.

Mahalakshmi: First off, there has been a lot of anticipation over India leveraging the China-plus-one sentiment that has emerged in the past couple of years. Companies want to reduce their dependence on China and are looking to make investments in the region to cultivate additional supply sources. From a multinational perspective, how far do you think this sentiment will translate into investments on the ground for India?

Krishnamohan: First of all, whether it’s a government or a company, you have to run the same way in a competitive environment. In this case, you need to be competitive against other countries, probably ASEAN, who are after the same investment dollars. We have a certain advantage that we have a consuming population that’s going to rise and we will have a baseload which is good for India. It’s about creating competitive advantage within the country in terms of infrastructure, power, and financing capability which are all important for any organisation to run. 

Joshipura: Can we say that in the next couple of years, we’d come closer to China in manufacturing, in terms of providing the right quality of materials at the right time with massive infrastructure?

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