August 30, 2011,09:53 +0900(JST) Visiting India
India, a country that has existed since time immemorial, was once known in Japan as Tenjiku, with images of "a country of gods and faiths" attached to this ancient name. Today, India is a powerful newly emerging economy with a population of 1.2 billion, GDP reaching 1.43 trillion US dollars (in 2010; approximately 120 trillion yen; 11th in the world), and an annual growth rate of about 10%. India's total number of cell phone subscriptions is 820 million, and the number of cell phone terminals sold in 2011 is expected to surpass 200 million. India is also one of the most important markets for the Sumitomo Electric Group since the country produces 2.6 million automobiles per year (7th in the world) and is expected to sell over 3 million vehicles this year.
Sumitomo Electric has a long history of business with India. The company's historical documents record the export of electric wire cables to Mumbai and Chennai after the end of the First World War; a contract for technical training related to coated wire signed with an Indian electric wire manufacturer in 1950; and the export of ACSR (aluminum cable steel reinforced) wire as the company's first large-scale export after the Second World War.
At present, five Sumitomo Electric Group companies and several representative offices engage in the sales of automotive wiring harnesses, vibration-proof rubber, cutting tools and optical fiber fusion splicers, as well as thin-film coating-related services, in New Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai and other locations. In addition, J-Power Systems Corporation, a Group company, is currently constructing a high-voltage electric cable manufacturing plant near Mumbai.
I visited India recently because I was invited to the wedding of the son of Mr. V. C. Sehgal, Chairman of Samvardhana Motherson Group, Sumitomo Electric's most important Indian business partner since 1986. India was in the midst of its rainy season, and there was a bit of concern about the weather on the wedding day. However, it turned out to be a beautiful fine day, and we attended a marvelous wedding ceremony, which was defined as an important official event in which the bride and the bridegroom's mutual trust was confirmed. The wedding ceremony and reception, which together lasted for almost two weeks, were held on a large scale almost inconceivable in Japan, with well over 1,000 guests invited each day. Vibrant music was played non-stop, to which many guests were seen dancing to their heart's delight. I was told that the total number of guests exceeded 15,000.
Since I was in India during a weekend, I had the time to visit the Taj Mahal and Qutub Minar in southern Delhi.
As well, a dozen Japanese Sumitomo Electric Group employees stationed at several locations in India had the kindness to get together to welcome their president from Japan. I was happy to see them in good health and spirits. My message to them: Thank you very much for your contribution and keep it up for the development of India, the local people, and the Sumitomo Electric Group.