While Great Wall Motor (GWM) showed off an entire fleet of their vehicles with great fanfare at the 2020 Auto Expo, which marked their public debut in India, while their market launch has been unconfirmed so far. Now, however, there finally might be some progress in this regard. India is set to clear 45 investment proposals from China and that will likely include those from Great Wall Motor and the SAIC Motor Corp, as was told by government and industry sources to Reuters.
These proposals have been held up since last year after the Indian government tightened controls on Chinese investment in retaliation against alleged Chinese troop incursions in the western Himalayan region. While China blamed Indian troops for the standoff then, military tensions between the two countries have now eased at the disputed border. About 150 investment proposals from China worth more than $2 billion were stuck in the pipeline.
Two government sources who have seen the list have said that most of the 45 proposals set for early approval are in the manufacturing sector. The manufacturing sector is considered non-sensitive in terms of national security and hence, might be given the go-ahead. While the sources did not elaborate further, two other government officials and two industry sources who are privy to the process have said that GWM and SAIC Motor are most likely on the list as well.
Last year, Great Wall Motor and General Motor (GM) made a joint proposal seeking consent for the Chinese carmaker to purchase the latter's manufacturing plant in India, a deal that was expected to be valued at around $250-$300 million. GMW plans to invest $1 billion in India over the next few years and has said that establishing operations in India is a key part of their global strategy. The carmaker had planned to start selling vehicles in India from this year itself but that obviously still stands unconfirmed.
A company spokesperson said, "Should we be granted all relevant approvals, we will push all work forward in India, abiding by the laws and rules laid down by the Indian government,". As for SAIC Motor, the company is currently selling cars in India under its British brand MG Motor since 2019 and has invested around $400 million of the nearly $650 million it has committed to India. However, it would need approval from the government to bring further investments. This change in the government's stance comes only after an improvement in the border situation after both parties have withdrawn their troops, as was announced by the two countries on Sunday.