Cochin positions itself as a transparent and secure investment destination in India

 

May 25, 2010.

Cochin is a city in the Indian state of Kerala and one of the chief seaports of India with an estimated population of 600,000 and an extended metropolitan population of about 1.5 million; making it the biggest urban agglomeration and the second biggest city in Kerala after the state capital.

 

Unofficially, it has been called the economic capital of Kerala in terms of its trade volume and its fast growing economy thanks to recent heavy investments in the region.  It contributes a huge sum of sales tax to India’s state revenue with its business economy that biases on the service sector. Its SEZ makes it a multi product zone and its strategic location on the pacific has worked to its advantage with its major seaport and special rules for facilitating foreign investments.

 

Investments such as the development by Dubai Ports International as a container trans-shipment terminal with direct sailings to important markets of the world could position the city as an Asian hub. Dubai based diversified group Pearl Investment’s Flora Airport Kochi is about to open in December 2010.

 

The spa project, part of a wider investment by the company in the GCC countries that topped US$136.15 million over the next five years, is on the 25 acre Flora Island Resort, about quarter an hour’s drive from Kochi Airport.  It is a 70 room, four star boutique hotel with banqueting facilities for 1000 guests. Pearl Investments business partners in India are Oberon Mall, the biggest Mall in Kochi, and Food Circle, a food outlets chain in the Kerala state.

 

Investments policies in Kochi and Kerala at large provide a somewhat transparent, predictable and secure environment for foreign investment. Market liberalization and the economic policy reforms of recent years have aimed at attracting and promoting FDI in the state. The industrial policy reforms eliminated the industrial licensing requirements except for certain sectors, removed restrictions on investments and expansion and facilitated easy access to foreign technology and investments.

 

This favorable investment climate has seen the city and the state at large get heavy investments with places like Eloor, just about 17km outside the city making up the largest industrial belt in the state of Kerala with over 250 industries that manufacture a range of different products.

 

Main business sectors in the state include gold retailing, seafood and spices exports, information technology, tourism, banking, shipbuilding and fishing and the emerging manufacturing industries. The city is home to the International Pepper Exchange and the Headquarters of the Spices Board of India.