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Advice to India's Tata: Build the Nano Car in China

Posted by: Frederik Balfour on August 25, 2008

Here’s an admittedly controversial suggestion for Ratan Tata: Why not build the Nano minicar in China? That would be a nifty way to side-step the problems plaguing his one lakh [$2500] car plant where he hopes to build the world’s cheapest car. On Sunday about 30,000 people demonstrated outside the company’s manufacturing facilities in the state of West Bengal to prevent the project from going ahead on land they say was obtained without paying adequate compensation to the farmers it was acquired from. Tata said on August 22 that he would consider relocating the factory rather than continue with the hassles the current site has created.

Hard to imagine somebody as powerful of Tata having these kind of troubles in China. Now I’m the first to recognize that China has huge problems with human rights, environmental problems and corruption when it comes to industrialization and land-use, but there’s no denying that when there’s a project to be built, the government gets the job done. That’s the main reason why India’s infrastructure is in tatters while China boasts state-of-the-art rail lines, highways, ports and airports. I’m sure if Tata let it be known among Chinese provincial governors that he was looking for a nice piece of land on which to build his factory, he would have a few dozens proposals on his desk by the next morning.

Of course the notion that Tata would build its Nano on Chinese soil rather than Indian is purely theoretical, as it would make no sense to build a car overseas that is aimed entirely at the domestic Indian market. But the case does make you wonder if India could find a middle ground between the rights of poor farmers and the needs of industrial investors.

Reader Comments


August 25, 2008 12:04 PM

Yep, it is funny. And they even dream of hosting the Olympics in 2020. That would be the first Olympics to be relocated.


August 25, 2008 6:25 PM

Balfour is still trying the bait China vs India. He know quite well that it would set the India nationalist into rage that would pages and pages of comment!
Please refrain to do more China vs India type of article. There is nothing to learn from it!


August 25, 2008 9:26 PM

let see what our indian friends gotta say about this :-]

India so big it sld not be hard to find a land. Cmon, you indians do not let us down again with ur bankrupt democracy. Do not disappoint us again with your inability to make things happen all becoz in the name of democracy. Isnt you lots always pride urself and boasts and look down on chinese on democracy while the chinese laugh their azz off at ur incompetency? Show it to BW and everyone, india can do it!. dun make BW always come out with articles ridiculing india comparing china, first on democracy then on incompetency. Its time india slap BW in the face and tell "BW No you r wrong, we rullleeeeesss", dun always send the message out "we sucks" this is getting boring.


August 25, 2008 9:30 PM

Brilliant idea, guaranteed to succeed.


August 25, 2008 10:57 PM

Jeff is probably Frederik Balfour in disguise, desperately trying to stir up some traffic to BW and keep his job.


August 25, 2008 11:37 PM

FOOLS, there are more progressive states in India that already have offered hassle-free land and infrastructure. The problem with NANO is that Tata in the name of development, picked the most backward state of India to spread 'the wealth'. It's like China putting a hi-tech project in some sh(thole inland city instead of the coastal regions. Damn, these uneducated CHINESE JERKS who know NOTHING about India, just come here to SPREAD HATE. DO you Chinese ever have anything positive to say, or are you just happy to spread negativity and hate towards Indians and other?

What I HATE about Chinese is the ABSOLUTE JOY and GLEE that these a**holes FEEL in their black hearts whenever something bad happens to someone else.

One thing I have found about these China-man types: they are NOT good people at all, very vicious and jealous types.
I really hate them for that reason.


August 25, 2008 11:47 PM

When we have so many other states in India ready to support the Tata group, why would they play their dice with China.


August 25, 2008 11:50 PM

Frederik Balfour =Rob?!
I hope that is not one way to produce more respond to his article. If it true, then it would be typical of BW!


August 26, 2008 12:00 AM

Don't be so stupid. BS Week is an American magazine, it is the Americans you should hate. This author write this article intentionally to enflame and insult the Indians and bring out idiots like you to increase their web traffic, so that they can sell more advertising space. Grow Up fools, and this applies to other Indian and Chinese posters as well. You are being manipulated by imperialist masters like your ancesters has been subjected to for more than 200 years.

Mohan Nair

August 26, 2008 12:18 AM

Guys lets not talk about India Vs China.

Guess what will happen the design will be stolen overnight and we will have a Nanjing XiaoXiao, with a different set of lights and may be few other mods,

Howz that for a change ?

Its so very easy to steal someone else's intellectual property in China.


August 26, 2008 2:02 AM

See, its so easy to stir the indians emotion, our Rod friend here is the testament of a sad reality. Try take some herbal tea or green tea to cooldown abit, no need to be so work up, too much curry is not good for you.


August 26, 2008 4:01 AM

You guys has been fool to be falling into the trap of India vs China. There are hidden movement to divide and conquer India and China. Too bad you guys are falling into the trap


August 26, 2008 5:26 AM

American are smart,they always like to instigate the conflicts between China and India,and then profit from it。


August 26, 2008 11:28 AM

Author, You are making a good point.. these fools mistook your intention and gloated that they were "smart" enough to get you all figureed out, idiots. please forgive them and ignore them


August 26, 2008 1:15 PM

Ellena,we chinese all know that the american's ambition is to conquer and rule the whole world.


August 26, 2008 1:23 PM

Rob, is your last name Hitler, cause you sound like Nazi! Read up the source and stop making unfounded comments.


August 26, 2008 3:01 PM

Absolutely Tata (or for that matter, any of the Superfund corps in USA) would do better relocating to China. No fear of Chinese farmers or landowners protesting. The corporates can do what they want - just keep the government happy - and keep raking it in.
How happy will we all be when the Government is truly "representative" of 100% of the people! As is the case in China, but sadly not so among the peoples who chose Democracy.


August 26, 2008 9:19 PM

Actually, this is not a bad idea at all. Given China's vastly more efficient industrial infrastructure and a rapidly improving automotive part suppliers base, Tata will certainly find it less troublesome to build a car there. The Nano might even cost less to build in China.


August 26, 2008 10:01 PM

Purely from a business point of view this is an absolutely valid suggestion. After all Apple iPODs are "designed in USA & Manufactured in China". If Apple can do it, so can Tata. The only problem with such a thing is that when the product succeeds, it is the designers who get the credit (e.g. iPOD).

Tatas would have no obstacles in setting up a manufacturing plant in China, because:

1. Anybody protesting would just 'disappaear'. The Tatas just have to keep the Government happy.

2. Any negative news about the plant would just be shoved out and completely suppressed.

Ninan Mathews

August 27, 2008 3:16 AM

Ratan Tata is no fool. We can have all the discussion in the world about India vs China or about bad mouthing chinese and indians. End of the day he will still be making the best choice for the Tata Brand. If Nano cannot be build in China or India, then he will built it Mars. Good luck Tata

Mr. Ratan Tata

September 1, 2008 7:35 AM

Hello sir,

Myself Satish, citizen of indore. I m a very big fan of yours. I just want to contact u for a matter related to SINGOOR PROBLEMS , as i can give u a very nice suggestion on this matter. And i ensure u that, as i m very impressed by ur work u will also be impressed. As i can help u in SINGOOR LAND PROBLEMS at a very great height.So i hope if u r interested u will definitely come in contact with me. MY CELL NO IS 09827396477 AND 07313062124. Thanku for giving a while in reading my message.



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