In a major development on the industrial front in Gujarat, the state’s exclusive Japanese industrial estate will be launched in the first week of June, when the first manufacturing unit from the land of the rising sun lays the foundation stone at Vithalapur, located about 95 kilometers north-west of Ahmedabad city.
Mitsubishi Aluminum Co, through its Indian subsidiary MA Extrusion India Private Ltd, will be setting up the first industrial unit in this exclusive Japanese cluster that is located in a region in north Gujarat that is expected to turn into a “mini Japan” in the coming years, centred around the upcoming Maruti Suzuki plant at Hansalpur.
“MA Extrusion will be the first company to lay its foundation stone in this industrial estate that will house only Japanese firms. The company has sent out invites for the ceremony to be held in the first week of June,” said a senior official of Gujarat government, who is associated with the development of this industrial zone, on the condition of anonymity.
The Japanese cluster is located about 15 kilometers from the proposed Rs 4,000-crore Maruti Suzuki car manufacturing plant at Hansalpur in Mandal taluka of Ahmedabad district and is also within a stone’s throw from the location where Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India Private Ltd (HMSI) has acquired land for a two-wheeler manufacturing plant.
With an investment of over Rs 100 crore, MA Extrusion is one of the four Japanese mid-level companies that have firmed up plans to invest a total of Rs 500 crore in the first phase of development in Japanese Industrial Estate.
In the post-Narendra Modi era, this is the first major influx of Japanese companies into Gujarat, which already has 30 odd Japanese firms. Interestingly, there are over 88 Japanese living in the state. Ahmedabad currently hosts 50 per cent of the Japanese living in Gujarat. Apparently, it opened up to Japanese culture when the first exclusive Japanese restaurant opened on the SG Highway.
Interestingly, Vithalapur, — the venue of the industrial estate — is the venue where Maruti Suzuki has acquired a second land parcel of 600 acres. These companies have come to Japanese Industrial Estate through the Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO), a trade and investment promotion arm of the Japanese government, which is marketing this industrial estate in Japan. In the last couple of years, JETRO had signed a formal Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and held several round of talks with the Gujarat government to finalise the Japan-specific industrial cluster.
MA Extrusion has taken up over 4.4 lakh square feet of space within the 150-hectare zone to set up a manufacturing plant that will make auto parts, especially those from aluminium extrusion material. According to Gujarat government sources, the next in line to set up the plant will be ROKI Minda Company Private Ltd, which has taken up 3.4 lakh square feet of space for setting up a auto part unit (air cleaners).
The biggest parcel of space within the Japanese cluster will be occupied by Toyota Forms Ltd, an MoU signatory at the 2013 Vibrant Gujarat Summit. The company is taking up over 5.89 lakh square feet of space for manufacturing precast concrete forms (mould) and machinery for producing precast concrete products. The fourth company is TS Tech Co Ltd which will be manufacturing automobile seats. “Once these companies set up their units in Phase-I, we expect more Japanese companies to step into this exclusive zone in the second phase,” the government official said, adding that the Japanese industrial estate was outside the periphery of the Mandal-Becharaji Special Investment Region (SIR) where the state government was recently forced to return the acquired land back to the farmers.