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April, 2014

  • TATA GROUP PHOTO img-Y26135148-0001Mesmerized by the tale of the Tatas bilateral relationship with a city that was once known as the Paris of the East Inchin Closer explores a personal story, which highlights scintillating Shanghai during an era of change. The 1930-40’s were a time when the two neighbours were at the height of their glory, just before Indian Independence in 1947 and the formation of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, it was a time when trade was booming and India and China each sought new identities for a modern era.

    In an exclusive interview with Inchin Closer, author Mishi Saran delves deeper into her story – “A House for Mr. Tata – An Old Shanghai Tale,” published recently in an anthology, Travelling In, Travelling Out – A book of unexpected Journeys; edited by Namita Gokhale. (HarperCollins India, January 2014)

    Ms. Saran’s story weaves back to when Bejan Dadabhoy Tata, a distant cousin of the founders of the House of Tata, left India’s shores and made it big in Shanghai.  Her detailed pen swerves through the history of a nation in flux to stitch together the personal tale of a man who succeeded and built his home in China. By bringing to life intricate details through a first hand interview with B.D. Tata’s son, Jehangir Bejan Tata, just before he passed away last November, Ms. Saran unveils the family’s struggle to prove ownership of their house – Avan Villa — which their father built and remnants of which continue to stand in the heart of modern day Shanghai at No. 458 Wulumuqi North Road.

    Although Jehangir Bejan Tata tried persistently to retrieve papers to prove ownership of their house over the past few decades, the exercise has proved futile. Besides some documents, the family also has photos of the house, of Shanghai in the 1940’s and pieces of their life in Sam Tata’s photos. Sam Tata, Jehangir Bejan Tata’s brother, was a photographer and had worked alongside Henri Cartier-Bresson, a master of candid photography and one of the world’s most renowned photojournalists. Sam Tata published a book of his photos taken during Shanghai’s extraordinary summer in 1949 and called it Shanghai 1949, The End of An Era.

    In addition to detailing the Tata family’s ongoing struggle to obtain proof of their original ownership of Avan Villa, Ms. Saran’s tale also signals the presence of a Zoroastrian prayer hall and cemetery in Shanghai. On a request from Inchin Closer, she dug out an ancient map of the city, showing exactly where these relics stand and also sent in photos of their existence today.

    The unveiling of this story brings to life many interesting facts, anecdotes and tales of a rich, shared Inchin history. Read on for a detailed interview with the author Ms. Mishi Saran

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  • india_china_talks-660_042413092442In order to cement its role in smoothing India-China relations, the Indian National Congress  facilitated a high level meeting between Indian Foreign secretary Sujatha Singh and her counterpart vice foreign minister Liu Zhenmin in Beijing for the sixth round of strategic dialogue last week. Besides deepening trade and economic ties, the foreign secretaries also chalked out the path ahead by reaffirming their alliance and bilateral commitment to each other.

    An important decision declared during the meeting was China’s rejection of India’s proposal to establish a Consulate in Lhasa, Tibet. As a reciprocal move New Delhi has refused China permission to set up a consulate in Kolkata. India will now plan to establish another office in Chengdu, Sichuan Province or Kunming, Yunnan Province. She had earlier also considered a consulate or trade office in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.

    Furthermore, prior to President Xi Jinping’s visit to India later this year, both sides also held intensive consultations on bilateral, regional and international issues including the contentious border, India’s ballooning trade deficit, the proposed special economic zones and plans for this years events during the Year of India-China Friendly Exchanges

  • img-chinasworldwidereachjanuary20141500pxinfographic_101104395042In a small yet significant trend, the worlds companies are gradually being run by Indian executives and Chinese investors.

    Over the past few months it has been observed by Inchin Closer, that a large number of multinational companies have elected Indian CEO’s to their helm, while being fueled by funds from the Mainland. In a story corroborated with by the Wall Street Journal, there are more Indians heading global Fortune 500 companies than Chinese while there is more money invested in these Fortune 500 companies either directly or indirectly from China than India.

    As the world’s axis maintains its Eastward tilt, companies are beginning to work with a more Asian bent in operations, catering more to Asian consumer tastes and focusing increasingly on services, a trait well ingrained in Asia.

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  • C713X0179H_2013資料照片_N71_copy1Plans are afoot to revive Bihar’s economy with Chinese investments in industry, technology and tourism. Located in East India, Bihar is a state which has one of the highest populations and until recently has depended highly on agriculture. However as the state aspires to rise up, the local government is keen on attract investments based on her rich historic past. Bihar, is known as the original site of the first recorded activities of Siddhartha, or Buddha, that once made it the center of the Maurya Empire of India in the 3rd century BC and was visited by pilgrims from China and other countries some 1,500 years ago.

    Similar to Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, one of India’s largest states in Central India is also following suit. The local government is keen to attract Chinese investments to Sanchi University and help raise it to the status of Nalanda University, where Chinese monk Xuan Zhang once studied.

    By attracting Chinese investments due to their historic significance, Indian states are keen to uplift their economies and drive ailing infrastructure in the state. Despite their rich cultural heritage, the area has remained poor and underdeveloped, however the local governments are toying with the idea of replicating Industrial parks along the lines of those created in China to boost development in industry.

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  • India investmentsThe often floundering, fragile Indian economy is relatively looking positive in light of recent changes within her BRICS peers. The rupee is trading at an eight month high of Rs. 60.17 to the dollar and the benchmark Sensex stock index, closed above 22,000 for the first time on Monday, reaching a record 22,055. India’s equity market is up 6 percent this year, while the emerging market index is down about a percent in the same period.

    Foreign investors, including the Chinese government and companies are looking at investing in their largest southern neighbour as the Chinese market saturates. So far this year foreign investors have poured US$2 billion into Indian equities, reversing the recent outflow trend. While Beijing is keen to invest in India’s high speed railways sector altering a mode of transport for millions and entering a sensitive Indian industry and the largest employer in the world, Chinese companies are also keen to tap into India. Of late mobile phone manufacturers Xiaomi and Gionee the 10th largest mobile handset maker in the world, both have ambitious plans of expansion and growth within India, the second largest mobile consumer market after China.

    The slew of Chinese investments come after larger Chinese mobile manufacturers Huawei and ZTE laid the groundwork and established a firm market for Chinese companies in India. Considering that the Indian population is expected to exceed the Chinese population this year, and the potential for earnings growth in India remains very appealing at 12 to 16 percent growth for the next year or two, the market is rife for investment by Chinese companies.

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