When officials with GE Plastics look at India, they can't help but see China.
``Everything that's happened in China is going to happen in India, but at a quicker pace,'' said Alan Leung, president of GE Plastics Pacific, a Shanghai unit of the Pittsfield, Mass.- based parent. ``When India goes to a free-export zone like China, then it's really going to take off.''
GE Plastics' Indian sales are expected to hit $200 million by 2008. The firm operates a compounding plant and a polycarbonate sheet facility near Baroda, India, that makes PC/polybutylene terephthalate and PC/ABS compounds. Leung said GE plans to upgrade equipment there soon.
``The focus is on how we can cater to small-lot, multicolor, just-in-time delivery,'' Leung said at Plastindia, Feb. 9-14 in New Delhi.
To meet the needs of a diverse and scattered customer base, GE Plastics imports Lexan PC and other specialty resins from plants in Europe, then distributes them in India through a network of nine warehouses.
``There are tons of small customers, and we are one of the few companies with a system in place to service them,'' said Venu Venugopal, president and chief executive officer of Indian operations.
``Part of our responsibility is to educate,'' he added. ``There are companies that have worked with metal for 100 years, but they don't really know plastics.''
Early successes for GE Plastics have come in compounds for aircraft and rail interiors, and in selling PC sheet for roofing uses.