Five Mumbai-based companies to invest:
India to be Stakeholder in Port City
Five leading Indian companies, based in Mumbai, have expressed
willingness to invest in the Chinese-funded Colombo Port City project.
of the five companies already have a strong presence in Sri Lanka, top
government sources told the Sunday Observer. With this development,
India, which earlier raised concerns over the Colombo Port City project,
is likely to become an important stakeholder of the development plan.
CHEC Port City Colombo (Pvt) Ltd Sales and Marketing Head Liang Thow
Ming left for India last week to have discussions with potential Indian
The meetings were facilitated by John Lang Lasalle (JLL), a
well-known real estate broking firm, which already has a modest presence
in Sri Lanka. It was the first time the company went on to launch a
region-specific marketing exercise to rope in potential investors for
Colombo Port City.
“Our interactions with Indian businessmen were highly successful. We
received a warm welcome in India. Our decision to engage with Indian
businessmen was purely a marketing strategy. We want the Port City
project to deliver results,” Ming told the Sunday Observer.
However, Ming said he was not in a position to disclose the names of
the five Indian companies which expressed willingness to invest in the
project. Several business and economic analysts told the Sunday Observer
that the company’s move to interact with Indian businessmen was a
‘masterstroke’ to allay India’s fears over the project.
“When India develops business interests in the project, they will not
be in a position to resist the Port City over geo-political concerns.
Approaching India to invest in the Port City is a masterstroke from a
strategic point of view. On the other hand, it ensures a win-win
solution to all stakeholders,” a prominent economist, who closely
studied the Port City project from the outset said.
The Chinese company and the Urban Development Authority(UDA) have
formulated a mechanism to approve investment for the Colombo Port City.
The UDA, the body representing the Sri Lankan government, will function
as the final approving authority, as far as investments are concerned.
“However, every investment will have to be ratified by the Chinese
company as well. When giving the green light, the UDA will take the
Chinese company’s endorsement into consideration. At the same time, to
fast track the operations of the project, the UDA has already formed a
special unit, dedicated to the Colombo Port City,” a highly placed
government source told the Sunday Observer on Friday. “The company and
the Sri Lankan government are looking at the project from a commercial
perspective. When roping investors for the Port City project, we won’t
worry too much about their nationality. Everyone will be assessed based
on competence, scales of investments and willingness to adhere to our
standards and regulations. The selection process will be objective and
transparent,” he further added.
“In addition to India, we believe the Colombo Port City will be an
exciting project for South East Asian investors who are now venturing
into global investments. On the other hand, Western countries too have
an opportunity to join hands with the project,” he said.