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NEW DELHI: They came, they saw, but they failed to conquer. And now, they are back again. Nearly half a decade after three Chinese bike makers announced mega strategies to ride into India and aborted plans mid-way, two new motorcycle makers from across the Great Wall are preparing to enter the burgeoning Indian two-wheeler market.

Interestingly, the Chinese new entrants — Guangzhou Motors Company and Zongshen Motorcycle Company — have zeroed in on communist state West Bengal for setting up their assembly plants.

Home-grown Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) is also in talks with two Chinese firms — Lifan and Loncin — to set up parallel ventures, marking its foray into motorcycles.

Guangzhou will be the first one to hit the market with its bikes in January 2007 in an alliance with infotech company Xenitis. The bikes will be produced by their JV company Global Motors. Zongshen, on the other hand, has formed a joint venture — Mahabharath Motors — with Indonesia-based Salim group and NRI Prasun Mukherjee. Its bikes are expected to hit the roads by the end of 2007

This marks the second coming of Chinese bikes in India, besides a shift in strategy," said an industry observer. "The new entrants seem to have learnt from the mistakes of their predecessors. Unlike in the past when the Chinese firms were banking more on cheap price tags, these firms are using the technology plank to market their bikes in India."

Global Motors said it is investing about Rs 280 crore for setting up a plant near Hoogly in West Bengal. The bikes will be positioned across all product segments — from basic commuter models to the executive segment, Xenitis chairman Santanu Ghosh said.

"We will also launch gearless scooters, although we are still finalising on its branding," he said. In the initial phase, the firm will import the bikes in a semi-knocked down state from China and assemble them in India.

Global Motors has decided to brand its bikes Xoom in India. Meanwhile, Zongshen's Indian venture, Mahabharath Motors, will roll out its bikes under the Arjun brand.

Zongshen’s partner Slim group, sources said, has already bought around 70 acres of land near Kolkata for setting up the assembly unit. The firm intends to invest around Rs 1,100 crore to build a plant with a capacity to produce 150,000 motorcycles a year, which would later be hiked to 500,000 units a year. Its maiden product for India is expected to hit the Indian market by the end of 2007.
 

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Sorry no update on this FT, but I can say that given the high level of protection India places on their domestic manufacturing industry and the narrow range of available bike types and styles in India, I think introducing ANYTHING would be good for the Indian market.

I find it difficult to believe that in a country like India with so many people and bad roads that enduro type bikes were have never been manufactured or marketed. bikes with comfortable seats (for two people), strong luggage carrying capacity and extra long suspension travel should be a no brainer for the environment but product was there none. Chinese manufs, on teh other hand, pretty much excel at making dirt/enduro oriented bikes and probably see a potential market there IF they can get past/around the regulations.

Add the political tensions between the two countries and it could be an interesting round of poker between these two gigantic players! :thumb:

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