Japan’s Omron Healthcare to Open a Medical Device Factory in Tamil Nadu, India
The Japanese medical equipment maker Omron Healthcare looks set to make a significant investment in the state of Tamil Nadu, south India. The plan is among a series of MoUs signed between Tamil Nadu’s investment facilitation agency, Guidance Tamil Nadu, and Japanese and Indian stakeholders in the presence of the state’s chief minister MK Stalin during his official visit to Japan. We highlight some of the outcomes of the visit that showcase Tamil Nadu’s investment appeal among Japanese manufacturing firms in India and explore the factors enabling the south Indian state to attract medical device manufacturers.
Outcomes of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin’s visit to Japan
In Tokyo, on May 30, the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, MK Stalin, oversaw the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between Guidance Tamil Nadu, the state investment facilitation agency, and Japanese firm Omron Healthcare. Omron currently manufactures its healthcare devices in Japan, China, and Vietnam.
Guidance Tamil Nadu also signed six MoUs with Japanese companies and their Indian joint venture (JV) partners worth close to INR 8.20 billion (approx. US$99 million). This was during an investors conclave organized by the Japanese External Trade Organization (JETRO).
The conclave saw the below MoUs signed:
- MoUs between Guidance Tamil Nadu and Chennai-based Polyhouse Group – with its three Japanese JV partners Kohyei, Sato-Shoji Metal Works, and Tofle. They intend to scale up existing operations near Chennai and manufacture more products. Investment worth INR 5.5 billion is expected to facilitate manufacturing polycarbonate sheets, roofs, and extrusion lines for electronic components used in the construction industry, high-end steel parts to be used in aerospace and defense industries, as well as stainless steel specialized flexible hoses.
- MoU between Guidance Tamil Nadu and Kyokuto Satrac to start a factory [on 13 acres] to manufacture spare truck parts in Mambakkam Sipcot, Sriperumbudur, Kancheepuram district.
- MoU between Guidance Tamil Nadu and Mitsuba to expand its existing plant operations to manufacture spare parts for two-wheelers and four-wheelers in the Gummidipoondi Sipcot, Tiruvallur district.
- MoU between Guidance Tamil Nadu and Shimizu Corporation to invest in the construction sector.
Prior to the investors conclave, Guidance Tamil Nadu had signed an MoU with Daicel Safety Systems, on May 26 in Osaka. Daicel will expand its Chennai plant to manufacture airbag inflators.
Omron’s investment in India
The Japanese medical equipment manufacturer will open its first medical device factory in the southern state. The facility will reportedly produce low-frequency pain therapy equipment and body composition monitors.
Omron aims to seize the growing demand in India, where it expects a substantial surge in sales of medical devices in the coming years. This surge will be propelled by factors such as an aging population and evolving lifestyle patterns.
Omron will invest INR 1.28 billion (approx. US$15.7 million) in setting up the Tamil Nadu plant. It will be located at Origins by Mahindra – a ~600 acres industrial cluster at Peruvoyal Village in Gummidipoondi Taluk of Thiruvallur district. The cluster aims to attract large and medium global companies across automotive, aerospace & defense, engineering, electronics, logistics, and medical devices, among other sectors.
More investments in the medical technology sector are anticipated by the Tamil Nadu government.
Medical device ecosystem in Tamil Nadu
Tamil Nadu is the fourth largest medical devices manufacturing state in India. However, it has the country’s second largest electronics manufacturing hub, which is key to the emerging MedTech sector.
Tamil Nadu competes with neighbors Telangana and Karnataka as well as Gujarat, Maharashtra, and Haryana for investments in this domain. All these states, including Tamil Nadu, host medical devices clusters.
Medical device park
The Trivitron Medical Technology Park (TMTP) in Irungattukottai, near Chennai, houses the projects under major Indian manufacturer and exporter of medical devices – Trivitron. With state-of-the-art facilities over 25 acres, TMTP plays a pivotal role in driving the growth of the medical device industry in India.
Upcoming medical device park
Another medical devices park is now being planned for manufacturing and R&D in close proximity to Chennai. It will be spread over 350 acres in the SIPCOT Industrial Complex at Oragadam, Kancheepuram district.
Designed to meet international standards, the proposed park will feature world-class common testing facilities for a wide range of components, including sensors, EMI/EMC, biomaterial/biocompatibility, radiation, and more.
The multi-disciplinary R&D Centre at the Healthcare Technology Innovation Centre (HTIC) serves as a collaborative platform, bringing together engineers, clinicians, industries, and government entities to undertake diverse research and development projects.
Tamil Nadu fosters a robust med-tech startup incubation ecosystem, supported by renowned institutions, such as IIT Madras and Anna University. This environment encourages industry-academia collaboration, facilitating the exchange of knowledge and expertise to fuel innovation in the medical technology sector.
Manufacturing and investment opportunities in Tamil Nadu’s medical device sector
Tamil Nadu hosts a growing ecosystem of medical device manufacturing units specializing in implants, diagnostics, radiology, cardiology, critical care, and operating room equipment.
Investment opportunities in the medical technology sector in Tamil Nadu include:
- Orthopedics and prosthetics
- Patient aids – portable aids and therapeutic appliances
- Imaging technologies and equipment – electrodiagnostic apparatus and parts
- Consumables – blood-grouping reagents, surgical gloves, suturing materials
- Dental products – capital equipment, instruments, supplies
Major medical electronics, devices, and equipment companies present in Tamil Nadu include Trivitron Healthcare, ZIFO R&D Solutions, Abott, Braun, Medtronic, and Phoenix Medical Systems.
Enabling national and state policies
- Make in India schemes
Medical devices is a priority sector for the flagship ‘Make in India’ program and benefit from central government initiatives like Production-Linked Incentives (PLI) for Promoting Domestic Manufacturing of Medical Devices and the Promotion of Medical Devices Parks Scheme.
Applicants approved under the PLI Scheme for Promoting Domestic Manufacturing of Medical Devices were released on March 15, 2023 [both Category A and Category B]. Omron Healthcare Manufacturing India Private Limited has qualified for incentives for its Automatic Blood Pressure Monitor. It falls under Category B – Target Segment 2: Radiology & Imaging medical devices (both Ionizing & Non-Ionizing Radiation products) and Nuclear Imaging Devices.
The market size of the medical devices sector in India was estimated to be worth US$11 billion in 2020 but its share in the global medical device market is a miniscule 1.5-2 percent.
- Foreign direct investment
Notably, the government has allowed 100 percent FDI in the medical devices sector, aiming to encourage international participation and promote growth in this field. Similarly, 100 percent FDI is permitted in the pharmaceutical sector for greenfield projects through the automatic route.
For brownfield projects in the pharmaceutical sector, FDI investments up to 74 percent are allowed under the automatic route. Beyond 74 percent and up to 100 percent, FDI investments require approval from the government, ensuring a controlled and regulated approach to foreign investments in this sector.
Recognizing the unique challenges and diverse nature of the MedTech industry, the government has established the Standing Forum of Medical Devices Associations to deliberate on various issues with all the stakeholders including regulators.
Key industry contacts are the Medical Technology Association of India, the Association of Medical Device industry (AIMED), and the Association of Diagnostics Manufacturers of India.
- Tamil Nadu Industrial Policy 2021
The state of Tamil Nadu has structured incentives for sunrise and focus sectors, industries, industrial parks, R&D projects, logistics infrastructure, FDI, sub-large to ultra mega size projects, to name a few. These have been updated in the Industrial Policy 2021.
For the purpose of administering the incentives, the following four investment commitment ranges have been identified in the Policy:
Investment commitment range
Standard investment period
INR 500 million
INR 3 billion
INR 3 billion
INR 5 billion
INR 5 billion
INR 50 billion
INR 50 billion
- Support for sunrise sectors in the Industrial Policy 2021
The ‘Medical Electronics, Devices and Equipment’ sector is a sunrise sector under the Tamil Nadu Industrial Policy 2021. This entitles it to special incentives over and above standard investment facilitation, industrial tax and duty relief, and local hiring-linked benefits.
Under the 2021 Industrial Policy, sunrise sector projects opting for Flexible Capital Subsidy will receive a Sunrise Booster, entailing an additional capital subsidy of up to 7.5 percent of Eligible Fixed Assets (EFA), dependent on the level of investment and employment generated.
For eligible projects located within the State Industries Promotion Corporation of Tamil Nadu (SIPCOT) areas, land allotment will be granted at a concessional rate of 10 percent in “A” and “B” districts, and a highly subsidized rate of 50 percent in “C” districts, for land up to 20 percent of EFA. In the case of private land in “C” districts, a 50 percent subsidy will be offered on the cost of land, up to a maximum of 50 acres, provided that the land cost does not exceed 20 percent of EFA and at least 70 percent of the land is utilized for manufacturing operations. If the investor chooses to avail the land cost subsidy, the land value will be excluded from the calculation of EFA for the purpose of Investment Promotion Subsidy.
Stamp duty exemptions will be granted to projects leasing or purchasing land, sheds, or buildings for industrial use within SIPCOT areas, with 100 percent exemption provided. For private lands, a 100 percent back-ended subsidy on stamp duty will be given for up to 50 acres, subject to fulfillment of investment and employment commitments.
Projects obtaining certifications, such as ISO, ISI, BIS, FPO, BEE, AGMARK, ECOMARK, or any other national or international certification, will be eligible for a subsidy of 50 percent of the total cost incurred in obtaining the certification, certified by a Chartered Accountant, limited to INR 10 million during the investment period. Additionally, the government will reimburse 50 percent of the expenditure incurred by the project during the investment period for patent, copyright, trademarks, Geographical Indicators registration, with a maximum reimbursement of INR 10 million.
To provide financial relief, an interest subvention of five percent will be offered on actual term loans taken to finance the project, for a period of six years – subject to certain limits entailed in the Policy. Standard incentives, including electricity tax exemption for five years and SGST refund on capital goods, will also be extended to eligible projects.
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