Second-tier cities in India; namely Indore, Madhya Pradesh and Ahmedabad in Gujarat are being explored by Malaysian companies for opportunities in sectors such as automobile and pharmaceuticals.

Some ten representatives from seven Malaysian companies are participating in a four-day marketing mission to the cities. The venture is coordinated by the Malaysian External Trade Development Corporation (Matrade).

Said Matrade’s trade commissioner in Mumbai, Noraslan Hadi Abdul Kadir, “The main objective of the mission is to explore possible business opportunities and expand export of Malaysia’s products and services to the second-tier cities.”

The mission will also serve to expand trade and economic cooperation between Malaysia and India, all whilst enhancing the utilisation of the Malaysia-India Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (MICECA) and the Asean-India Free Trade Agreement (AIFTA), for the benefit of both Malaysia and India.

Noraslan said such an odyssey would help establish direct links with business communities in India’s second-tier cities, government agencies, trade associations and chambers of commerce, whilst also enhancing Malaysia’s branding.

The programme will centre on pre-arranged business meetings.

There are over 110 meetings with 77 Indian companies arranged. 57 of these meetings are with 32 Indore-based companies, 56 with 47 Ahmedabad-based entities. These meetings have been arranged for delegates in the two-day business meeting session.

Indore is a major commercial centre for the state of Madhya Pradesh and also the most densely populated city in central India.

The bulk of Indore’s trade stems from small, medium and large scale manufacturing and service industries. Its economic base and population size has also spurred development opportunities for many other businesses oriented to local or more diversified markets.

Industries in Indore range from automobiles to pharmaceuticals and from software to retail, as well as textile trading to real estate.

On the other hand, Ahmedabad is Gujarat’s largest city. Gujarat is one of the most industralised states in India, with 38 per cent of GDP contributed by the secondary sector. It is renowned for sustained investor confidence, having received the largest number of investment proposals in India.