China, where Sundram Fasteners Ltd has local operations, is also in recession mode. But the company says it is investing in the dragon country for the long term.
The company set up a manufacturing plant in China six years ago, one of the first to set up shop there. “We now have enough savvy and know-how in this market. We are looking at China 25-30 years from now.”
SFL began its journey here by partly diverting production from India to gain traction in the Chinese market. Later, it approached its global customers who had factories in China. The company is now gearing up for the third phase – supplying to Chinese car makers.
“This is the most difficult phase because Chinese companies traditionally like to buy from Chinese companies. But China is upgrading its quality to compete internationally in serious engineering. So, they are looking at suppliers whom the MNCs buy from,” says Krishna.
The shift is happening slowly, says Krishna. “We are a Chinese company. Out of 200 people, only five to six are Indians. Right from salesman and production manager to chief accountant and personnel manager, all are Chinese.”
China car sales was around 18 million in 2011.