Ivanka opens GES 2017 today: For global majors, all roads lead to Telangana

A delegate poses for a photo at the venue of the Global Entrepreneurship Summit 2017 in Hyderabad. (Photo: PTI)
Hyderabad, the capital of Telangana, is all dressed up to welcome Ivanka Trump, who’s leading the US delegation for the eighth edition of the Global Entrepreneurship Summit. From Taj Falaknuma, venue for state dinner to be hosted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, to Hitec City, where the summit is being organised for the next three days, Ivanka is the theme. But that’s not the only global attention that the city has been getting.

A senior official in the Telangana government pointed out that leading global brands such as Amazon, Walmart and IKEA are investing top dollars here. American retail major Walmart, which set up its first Hyderabad store a few years ago before Telangana happened, is gearing up to open two to three more cash and carry outlets in the city. “Hyderabad is a three-to-four-store market for Walmart,” a company executive told Business Standard. There’s no other city in India that Walmart has so far identified as a three-to-four-store market. Agra and Bhopal have two Walmart stores each and that’s the highest so far for any city. 

Seattle-based e-commerce giant Amazon, too, has been upbeat on Telangana. The Jeff Bezos-led group set up India’s biggest fulfilment centre in Hyderabad some six months ago, spread over nearly 400,000 sq ft with close to 2.1 million cubic feet of storage space. Along with this, Amazon has five fulfilment centres in Telangana offering around 3.2 million cubic feet of storage. Also, its biggest campus, anywhere outside the US, will be ready at Gachibowli (Hyderabad) in 2019. 

Company executives at Walmart and Amazon, corporate rivals, attributed the global brands’ interest in Telangana to transparent industrial policy, single-window clearance and overall ease of doing business. In fact, IT minister in the state 

K T Rama Rao or KTR as he’s popularly known, and son of chief minister K Chandrashekhar Rao, is just one phone call away,  an industry representative said. Top bureaucrats in the ministry, too, are readily accessible, he added.

Swedish furniture major IKEA, too, recently launched its first experience centre in India in Hyderabad. Its first signature store in the country, spread over around 400,000 sq ft, is also coming up in Hyderabad next year. IKEA has committed the largest single-brand retail investment in India till now at Rs 10,500 crore. 

Multinationals in IT sector such as Microsoft, Apple and Google have major presence as well in Hyderabad.

Amazon set up India’s biggest fulfilment centre, spread over 400,000 sq ft with close to 2.1 million cubic feet of storage space, in Hyderabad some six months ago. Photo: Bloomberg

B V P Rao, advisor to the Telangana government, said, “while Hyderabad has been known for its information technology and pharmaceuticals prowess, we are consciously developing defence & aerospace as a new pillar.’’ Whether its for manufacturing, servicing or training in defence & aerospace, the Telangana government is on an overdrive to make it big. The state’s focus on logistics and warehousing is also attracting industry in a significant way, Rao said.

The largest incubator in the country, t-hub, located in the Hitec City of Hyderabad, is another example of how Telangana is dealing with industry. In the past two years, since its inception, t-hub has assisted around 350 start-ups. Work has already begun for the second phase of expansion of t-hub which will mean shifting into a building spread over 365,000 sq ft space. According to CEO of t-hub, Jay Krishnan, in the next three years, Hyderabad will be among the top 10 global start-up destinations. While t-hub’s current five-storey office is already attracting global investors and start-ups from across the world, Krishnan is clear that e-commerce is kept out of the way at the incubator because that is an over-crowded space already.