Indian two-wheelers in Central America
The two-wheeler market in Latin America is growing rapidly because of demand from millions of poor people who are joining the lower middle class as a result of successful poverty alleviation programmes as well as economic growth. Bajaj Auto Ltd, Hero MotoCorp, and TVS Motor Company have established their two-wheeler brands in many countries of the region.
Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd launched the Duro DZ scooters as well as the Pantero and Centuro motorcycles in Nicaragua and Guatemala in August 2013. The company will set-up assembly units in both countries. Tractors and pickups made by Mahindra are already popular in some of the markets of Latin America, with 12,000 vehicles sold in 2012-13 in Chile, Brazil, Peru, Uruguay, Paraguay, Colombia, and Ecuador.
Indian companies invest in Brazilian oil
According to preliminary reports, the SEAL-11 block off Brazil’s north-eastern coast may hold more than a billion barrels of high-quality light crude oil and natural gas. India’s Bharat Petroleum Corp (BPCL) and Videocon Industries Ltd have a 40% share in this block, while 60% is held by the Brazilian national oil company Petrobras.
The SEAL-11 block together with adjacent areas 100 kilometres off the coast of the Brazilian state of Sergipe, may hold more than 3 billion barrels of oil, according to sources quoted by Reuters. If confirmed, this block will be one of the biggest global discoveries of the year. According to Petrobras, this block could start producing 100,000 bpd (barrels per day) by 2018. Oil has also been struck in the nearby SEAL-4 block, 75% percent owned by Petrobras and 25% by ONGC Videsh Ltd of India.
Five Indian start-up ventures in Chile
Start-Up Chile is an initiative by the Chilean government to improve the start-up ecosystem in the country by inviting top start-ups from around the globe. Over a six-month programme, the government gives the companies funding and support to establish a business, build a team, and expand their market across the country.
This year Start-Up Chile has selected 85 companies from across the globe for the programme, which will begin in November 2013. Five Indian ventures have been selected: Profoundies Labs builds products and delivers services in data analytics and optimisation; i7Networks offers products to help manage web content classification and ensures efficient bandwidth management; Brainwave Education works on mobile and web apps that help school children learn science and math, and practise experiments in a virtual laboratory; Croak.it allows users to discover, collect, and convey thoughts and expressions in 30-second audio snippets; Cubicle develops applications tailor-made for project-intensive engineering design companies.
Costa Rica invites Indian investment
During a visit to India in September, Costa Rica’s Foreign Trade Minister Anabel Gonzalez sought Indian investment. Indian IT/BPO companies such as Aegis, Infosys, Amba Research, CSS and WNS already operate in Costa Rica. The CSS Corp global delivery centre was inaugurated in August by the president of Costa Rica. The country, described as the Silicon Valley of Central America, offers the most peaceful environment and the best-educated human resources in the Central American region.
Ambassador Viswanathan is Distinguished Fellow, Latin America Studies, Gateway House. He is the former Indian Ambassador to Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and Venezuela, and Consul General in Sao Paulo.
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