Jean-Pascal Tricoire: Schneider Electric to continue investing in India

HONG KONG: Schneider Electric, the French developer of products and solutions for the power sector, will continue to invest in India, undeterred by a slowing economy, as the country’s rising population, urbanisation and digitisation are expected to drive demand, chairman Jean-Pascal Tricoire said. “We are here for the long term,” Tricoire said, brushing aside concerns about the slowing economy in India and China. “You just have to take the big picture: biggest population, biggest urbanisation, biggest industrialisation, bigger digitisation.

The need is here. People are working. They are well educated, talented, so I think it is just for us to catalyse the movement.” India’s economy expanded 5.7% in the April-June quarter, the slowest pace in three years, amid poor industrial growth. For Schneider, which reported revenue of¤ 24.7 billion in 2016, India is a big manufacturing and export base. The company operates 28 factories that make domestic and industrial electrical products and employs 20,000 people. Half of its production in India is exported.

“There is a lot of potential in terms of both electrification and digitisation,” said Tricoire, referring to the millions of Indian homes that do not have access to electricity and the wave of digitisation that is sweeping the globe and expected to touch all homes and industries, bringing in convenience and cost advantage. The Indian government is targeting to connect every home in the country with grid power by December 2018.

Besides, the policy push towards renewables and energy efficiency, as part of a broader strategy to fight climate change, is also generating business opportunities. “The only challenge is about ourselves, really. Are we fast enough to adapt our products to the specificities of India?” said Tricoire.

With an empire spread across several continents, Schneider shares innovations from one market to cater to the needs in another and has empowered local teams to manage business.

“We have put systematically in those continental countries (China and India) very strong manufacturing capability so that we can serve the market locally, strong R&D capability, pretty autonomous management for those countries because, I believe, to understand India you have to come from India, and to manage China, you have to come from China because otherwise it’s complicated,” said Tricoire.

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