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Updated: March 24, 2011 22:32 IST

Swiss brands invited to set up shop in India

Sujay Mehdudia
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A display of watches at the stand of Swiss watchmaker Rolex during a preview at the world fair in Basel on Wednesday.
AFP A display of watches at the stand of Swiss watchmaker Rolex during a preview at the world fair in Basel on Wednesday.

Union Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma on Thursday invited leading Swiss brands, including Rolex, Raymond Weil, Tissot, Chopard, Blancpain and Tag Heur, to invest in India and set up manufacturing base in the country to spread their influence as retail chains.

In an interaction here with leading Swiss watchmakers, Mr. Sharma said India offered a huge opportunity for leading watch brands in shape of an expanding economy. The country was growing at about 8.6 per cent annually and hoped to clock a 9 per cent economic growth by the end of the current fiscal.

“India is a land of opportunities and we want that reputed and global leaders in watch making should be part of this success story. I urge you to set up manufacturing base in India and enter the country through retail chains by offering your wide ranging products meant for various sections of the society,'' he told the delegation of Swiss watch makers.

The delegation included leading Swiss brands like Eric Bertrand and Duchene Jacques of Rolex SA, Threbard Francois of Tissot.

The delegation assured Mr. Sharma that they were excited about the prospects of setting up operations in India and were looking forward to doing business there in a larger context. Earlier, Mr. Sharma inaugurated the ‘India Pavilion' at the international gems and jewellery show along with Didier Burkhalter, Federal Councillor, Head of the Federal Department of Home Affairs, Switzerland.

The entire show is being organised by the Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council, which is hosting India's top 53 brands at this global platform.

The show is also an attempt to showcase India's rich culture and cuisine at the global level which is being ghosted at the elegantly displayed India Palace created in BaselWorld 2011.

Mr. Sharma said it was the endeavour of his Ministry to enhance India's global footprint through this show. He said over one million each of skilled Indian manpower are engaged in the diamond and jewellery manufacturing industries and of the globally polished diamonds, India's share is 70 per cent in value and 85 per cent in volume terms. “Out of the every 12 cut diamonds in the globe, 11 pass through Indian hands,'' he remarked.

“The India International Jewellery Week has emerged as a signature event in the annual calendar in South Asia and we are aiming to scale up the global participation in this show,'' he added.

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