The Bosch group has forecast further strong business growth in India over the next few years, and sees India as a key pillar of its growth strategy in Asia Pacific. In 2013, the company generated sales in India of approximately €1.2 billion, a three-fold increase over a ten-year period.
''Over the past ten years, Bosch has doubled its sales in Asia Pacific. By 2020, we are aiming to double our sales in the region again,'' said Volkmar Denner, chairman of the board of management of the €46-billion Bosch Group, during a press briefing in Bangalore.
Bosch currently employs 27,000 people at 10 production sites and seven R&D locations in India. Since 2010, the Bosch group had invested around €680 million in the expansion of manufacturing and research facilities there, of which some €160 million were invested in the current year alone.
India is home to the technology and services company's largest development centre outside Germany, employing 10,500 engineers. ''We develop innovative solutions there which are used in products around the world,'' said Steffen Berns, president of the Bosch group in India. The rising number of patents filed testifies to the successful work at the center: from 20 registered innovations in 2008, this figure rose to 220 last year. ''That's a more than ten-fold increase within five years,'' Berns said.
Among the innovations developed by the Bangalore-based centre is a compact retina camera with special software that can detect conditions such as cataracts at an early stage. This fast and cost-effective eye diagnostic tool was specifically designed to meet the needs of the Indian market, and can be easily put into use in similar regions as well.
Bosch also sees excellent opportunities in the booming two-wheeler market, which last year registered a growth of 14 per cent, making it one of the most dynamic markets in India. ''We predict that the number of two-wheelers sold annually on the subcontinent will reach 27 million by 2020,'' Denner said.
Worldwide, the number of motorbikes and electric e-scooters sold is expected to increase from 100 million today to 150 million by the end of the decade. By comparison, Bosch forecasts that some 110 million new cars will be sold worldwide in 2020.
Bosch is also entering the global motorcycle market with new powertrain systems.
Denner, however, said India needs to undertake urgent labour reforms to help boost productivity and enjoy a competitive edge in manufacturing, within the Asian landscape.
Given the many free trade zones in Asia and many Asian economies entering into free trade agreements, Denner stressed the need for having a competitive manufacturing environment in the country.
While the Bosch chief did not elaborate on any specific measures, the message was that India needed to give foreign companies more leeway in the context of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's`Make in India' campaign.
The Bosch group, which has been active on the subcontinent since 1922, had faced severe labour problems in the recent past.
The Bosch group, a leading global supplier of technology and services worldwide in the areas of mobility, industrial technology, consumer goods, and energy and building technology, employed roughly 281,000 in 2013.
The Bosch group comprises Robert Bosch GmbH and its roughly 360 subsidiaries and regional companies in some 50 countries.