China's SUV specialist automaker Great Wall Motors on Tuesday signed an MOU with the Maharashtra government while staying committed to a phased investment plan of $1 billion for a factory in the state that will generate employment for 3,000 people.
The announcement came at a time when India-Sino relations hit a new low on Tuesday. Armed forces from the two countries clashed at the Galwan province of Ladakh in India that resulted in the death of an officer and two soldiers. Economic ties between the two nations have also been strained over the last few months. India tweaked its FDI policy in April to scrutinise all prospective investments from China as calls for a boycott of Chinese products have become shriller.
GWM's investment in the state would be made at the erstwhile General Motors's factory in Talegaon that the Chinese automaker bought over in January this year.
The MoU was signed virtually between James Yang - President, & Parker Shi - Managing Director, of Indian subsidiary of GWM, along with Sun Weidong - Chinese Ambassador to India and Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray and Subhash Desai, the state's industries minister.
Shi and Yang were appointed to head the Indian operations of the company only on May 28 and the signing of the MoU on Tuesday indicated the worsening relations between the governments of the two countries has had no impact on the company's plans for India.
"We would like to thank the Maharashtra government for extending full support and helping us foster a long and mutually beneficial cooperation that hopefully will turn out to be a great business proposition for both," said Parker Shi. "This would be a highly automated plant in Talegaon with advanced robotics technology integrated in many of the production processes. Overall we are committed to $1 billion of investment in India in a phased manner, which is directed towards manufacturing world class intelligent & premium products, R&D centre, building supply chain and providing jobs to over 3,000 people in a phased manner."
Located in Talegaon Industrial Park the plant is spread over an area of around 300 acres and is close to the expressway. It is about 45 kilometers from Pune city and about 100 kilometers from Mumbai Port.
The factory has facilities like logistics distribution center, training center, project management building, administrative office building and public facilities center.
GWM is the second major Chinese auto company to venture into the Indian market after SAIC-owned MG Motor that made its debut with the Hector SUV last year. It was one of the participants at the India Auto Expo in February earlier this year when it had showcased the full range of SUVs including Haval H9, F7, F7x, F5 and electric vehicles IQ and R1. Its first Haval SUV will be launched in the market next year.
Founded in 1984, Great Wall Motors is headquartered in Baoding in the Hebei province of China and owns brands like Haval, GWM EV and GWM Pickup. It has more than 70 holding subsidiaries worldwide and 10 R&D centers in seven countries, including India, the US, Germany, Japan, South Korea, China, and Austria. It has 14 global manufacturing facilities.