Jaipur-born Ryuko Hira bats for Japanese FDI in A.P.

Born in Jaipur in 1966 as Kamlesh Punjabi clearly had a yen for business.

He moved Japan in 1966, learnt Japanese, and today he is a wealthy (naturalised) Japanese businessman, better known as Ryuko Hira, and the owner of HMI Hotel Group, which runs a chain of hotels and resorts in Japan.

He is also the Chairman of The Indian Commerce and Industry Association of Japan. On Monday, Mr Hira met Andhra Pradesh (AP) Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu at the Secretariat on behalf of a clutch of Japanese companies interested in exploring investment opportunities in Andhra Pradesh.

Mr Hira, whose family had started a business in Yokohama back in 1921, exporting Japanese silk to India, said that Japanese companies were keen to invest in AP in sectors such as urban development, agriculture, and fisheries. The investment potential in the development of urban townships alone, he estimated, could be in the range of $5billion to $10billion.

An ardent follower of Sri Sathya Sai Baba, Mr Hira visited Puttaparthi before meeting Mr.Naidu. “This (Andhra Pradesh) is a land of god. It drew me here,” he said. Referring to Kia Motors’ investments in Anantapur district, he said, “Many such industries in the automobile sector can come up. There is lot of scope for investment in that line.”

Speaking to
The Hindu
, Mr. Hira said that urban townships with world class amenities were being planned in different cities, including Visakhapatnam, Vijayawada and Amaravati. The investment per project could be $1 million to $3million, depending on the size of the township.

“A team from Japan will visit the State soon and take decisions on investments. Another meeting with government officials is slated for next month,” he said.

Describing his interaction with Mr. Naidu, he said that the Chief Minister had great respect for Japanese culture and entrepreneurship. Andhra Pradesh-Japan economic relations would go a long way under his leadership, he added.

Recalling a meeting convened by the AP Economic Development Board (APEDB) in Japan recently, he said that a hall with a seating capacity of barely 250 ended up hosting representatives from about 600 companies.

EDB CEO Jasti Krishna Kishore held one-on-one meetings with 60 companies, he said, adding, “That meeting sowed the seeds for prospective investments from Japan.”

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