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Tamil Nadu encourages Korean companies to invest in green energy, EVs, R&D, footwear

Sept. 27, 2022 - 12:55 By Sanjay Kumar
Tamil Nadu’s minister of industry, investment promotion and commerce, Thangam Thennarasu delivers a speech at an investment seminar at Lotte Hotel in Seoul, Monday. (Sanjay Kumar/The Korea Herald)

The Indian state of Tamil Nadu invited Korean companies to invest in four sectors at the “Invest in Tamil Nadu" road show in Seoul on Monday.

The road show was part of the Tamil Nadu government’s delegation to South Korea, headed by the state’s minister of industry, investment promotion and commerce, Thangam Thennarasu, to explain the advancements of the state and its investment environment.

Delivering his address at the seminar, Thennarasu emphasized electric vehicles, carbon neutrality, R&D and footwear as four major potential sectors for Korean companies.

“Korean expatriates living in Tamil Nadu are living quite comfortably," he said, highlighting Tamil Nadu as a potential investment destination for Koreans. According to Thennarasu, Koreans are the most numerous expat group in the state due to the presence of several major companies, including Samsung and Hyundai.

Thennarasu referred to the recent production of the 10 millionth car of Hyundai Motor from its Chennai facility, celebrated by the state’s chief minister, M.K. Stalin.

Applauding Stalin’s commitment to financing relationships as well as Korean companies’ investments, the minister described Tamil Nadu as the second-largest economy in India, accounting for approximately 9.8 percent of India’s total gross domestic product.

“When most economies were contracting during COVID-19, Tamil Nadu grew at the rate of 8.8 percent even during COVID-19,” Thennarasu said, adding that the state's chief minister has proposed setting the goal of achieving a trillion-dollar economy by 2031, and that the state government was working on multiple strategies.

“We are actively looking to develop world-class infrastructure and sector-specific policies,” said Thennarasu.

He also touched upon the centuries-old Tamil-Korea cultural connection, referring to a legend of a Tamil princess who came here and became a daughter of Korea.

“It’s a great legend and history that we proudly share with Korean people,” he said.

The minister said that the 2021 promotion strategy of Tamil Nadu has set an export target of $100 billion by 2030 and indicated his commitment to ties with Korea and Korean companies in the state to help nurture the industrial ecosystem and make Tamil Nadu a second home for Koreans.

South Korea’s Deputy Trade Minister Jeong Dae-jin delivers remarks at an investment seminar at Lotte Hotel in Seoul, Monday. (Sanjay Kumar/The Korea Herald)

Meanwhile, South Korea’s Deputy Trade Minister Jeong Dae-jin applauded significant Korea-India bilateral trade, recalling the record bilateral trade and growing Korean investments in India despite COVID-19.

“Around 700 Korean companies currently operate in India, out of which 200 are operating in Tamil Nadu,” said Jeong.

“Tamil Nadu is the manufacturing hub of South Indian industries,” Jeong stressed.

According to Jeong, Tamil Nadu is a manufacturing hub in Asia for global companies.

Echoing Thennarasu, Jeong hoped that joint investments would bring a synergistic effect for electric vehicles and footwear

“I feel 'investor first' seems a suitable line that defines Tamil Nadu,” said Jeong.

He suggested the need to establish a collective R&D center for innovation using outstanding human resources such as scientists and researchers to enhance cooperation in green energy, carbon neutrality, renewable energy and green ammonia.