Traditional wisdom says `Don’t put all your eggs in one basket’ and it perfectly applies on Murari Lal Jalan.
An eminent figure in the business fraternity, Jalan is a veteran who has invested in diverse sectors like Real estate, Mining, Trading, Construction, Fast Moving Consumer Goods, dairy, Travel & Tourism and Industrial works globally to name a few, minimizing the risk factor.
Presently he has his investments in the United Arab Emirates, India, Russia and Uzbekistan among others. Jalan’s brand ‘M J Developers’ is known for its core business principles – focus on the customer, aim for high quality development and have a vision to deliver good quality coupled with timely execution.
Jalan’s primary governance philosophy is based on building resilient and sustainable enterprises which would be directly in tune with his approach to sustainable development – form of progress that meet the needs of the present without compromising on anything to meet the needs of the future generation. It is an approach which postulates a holistic, balanced and integrated perspective on development.
The Republic of Uzbekistan gained Independence in 1991, after being part of the former Soviet Union since 1924, and it has begun its transition to a market economy. Commencing with an impressive series of measures to liberalize the foreign exchange market in 2017, the Government has enacted a series of structural reforms aimed at removing price controls, liberalizing the visa regime, easing trading restrictions and regulations to improve the business climate, and overhauling the tax system.
It’s growth equation and the ability to integrate and innovate has radically changed the Uzbekistan economy structure. A reliable legal framework for dynamic economic development and favorable investment climate has also been created.
This is supported by macro-economic indicators and the annual Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth of Uzbekistan has exceeded 8% over the last 11 years, which is one of the highest in the world.
The GDP has increased 5.5 times during the years of independence, while GDP per capita (PPP) has risen by 4 times. Since 2005, state budget has reached its annual surplus contributing to the present state of macro-economic stability. This has inspired Jalan to be optimistic about the bright future, growth and development of Uzbekistan.
Jalan remains committed and excited to be a part of this success story of the country because of its decisive, bold steps towards openness and foreign trade
With many projects valued at more than US $ 1 billion and having his presence in famous hubs of Uzbekistan like Tashkent, the capital (which means “Stone Village” in Uzbek) is also a centre of Uzbek culture. Tashkent has several large libraries and is the seat of the Uzbek Academy of Sciences and many other numerous institutions of higher learning.
He is also contributing to the development of Namangan, a land of investment opportunities in pharmaceuticals, information technology, hotels, health sector, automobile. Located in the heart of the city, Namangan Square is an exciting new luxury development point that will see the creation of a contemporary 18-hectare mixed use community within walking distance from the newly constructed Presidential School, (1 km from the Namangan Airport and 6.5 km from the Namangan train station).
Tashkent, which is rich in historical sites and his ventures would be part of more than 2 million sqm. of residential apartments, and with sprouting up of 4 luxurious hotels, renowned Universities, Medical Institutes, iconic towers, all this will give new shape to Uzbekistan.
His third venture is in Bukhara, which is an ancient city of Uzbekistan. It was a prominent stop on the silk road trade route between the East & the West, and a major medieval centre for Islamic theology & culture. He is building a 4 star Modern Hotel complex & recreation area on 2.7 hectares of land.
The Government’s vision is to transform Uzbekistan into an industrialized, upper-middle-income country by 2030. Achieving this vision will require a sustained reform effort to further increase the efficiency of resource allocation in the economy and take advantage of new, high-potential sources of economic growth and job creation.
As part of this vision, the government has recently announced plans to modernize the agriculture sector, reduce its ownership of state-owned assets and enterprises, and address constraints in the financial markets.
And, to make sure that no stone is left unturned to make the “Project Uzbekistan” a grand success, two young and dynamic entrepreneurs who are also a part of the family Ankit Jalan and Aakash Garg are core contributors to convert Jalan’s ventures into a grand success. These two gentlemen have already proved their abilities and talent in nurturing group businesses around the globe.
Jalan is leading from the front and significantly contributing to the government’s dream of making “Project Uzbekistan” come alive in the near future.
To know more about his vision, we had a conversation with him. Here are the excerpts:
What attracted you to Uzbekistan, especially when most of the NRIs want to invest in Gulf Countries or in the US?
An investor is always on the lookout for opportunities. We have always been attracted to investing in developing markets for the new and fresh challenges and excitement it brings and the growth scalability It offers compared to saturated markets of the Gulf & West. Moreover, we are fascinated by the region’s culture, tradition.
What exactly do you mean by `sustainable enterprises’?
Sustainable enterprise is an enterprise which can not only survive the market trends and cycles on a long term basis but also provide enough opportunities for organic growth within the value chain by integrating vertically or horizontally.
What are the reasons for the galloping GDP in Uzbekistan?
The government of Uzbekistan has brought in various reforms to streamline the economy and steer it towards a growth path. It includes liberalizing the foreign exchange market, structural reforms aimed at removing price controls, liberalizing the visa regime, easing trading restrictions, regulations to improve the business climate, overhauling the tax system and many more. These steps by the government have provided the confidence and a conducive environment to the domestic investors and helped attract investors like us.
Are there any red-tape in doing business there? Getting licenses, political interference, corruption, etc?
The government, in addition to the above-mentioned reforms, has come out with concepts like single window clearance and and dedicated ministry for Foreign Investments, which has made the process very efficient, fast-paced and investor-friendly.
How do you tackle the labour issue? Are they in tune with the industry demand? Do you also employ workers from India? What percentage?
We as a group, have been very pleasantly surprised by the labourers in Uzbekistan and the pace at which real estate developments are taking shape in the country. We are very excited and happy to engage with the local labour for all our projects with only a small percentage of technical and niche talent being imported from abroad, particularly, India.
What is your vision for Indo-Uzbekistan trade relations? In which areas can there be close cooperation? Is Indian Govt. involved in your projects?
Being originally from India, it is always our sincere effort to serve our home country in all ways possible and we are always on the lookout as to what more we can do for our home country. We constantly explore various opportunities of collaboration between the government of both countries to further promote each country. these are in medical tourism, education, travel & leisure and many more avenues. We also work towards increasing the bilateral trade by collaborating with business and corporate housing for raw material sourcing, talent sourcing, technology imports, etc.
What are your plans for investing in India?
As a group, we already have multiple investments in India in real estate, tours & travel and many other sectors. Moreover, as an international investor with an affinity towards India, we are constantly on the lookout of good opportunities for investing in India.
We also interacted with Aakash and Ankit, Strategic Advisors, MJ Developers.
What will be your contribution to Mr Jalan’s success story?
We, being a new age, young entrepreneurs in the family are taking up multiple responsibilities within the group and our energy, commitment and dedication will sure be instrumental in achieving Mr. Jalan’s vision of delivering the best quality product, in the shortest time possible at the most effective pricing.
How do you plan to use technology to expand and nurture the businesses?
The group is planning to introduce many smart cities and green building technologies to enhance the life of its residents and commuters by use of new age technologies and subsequently reducing the cost of living. Some examples include smart energy management system, smart waste disposal and water recycling systems, use of natural and renewable energy vis-a-vis traditional lighting systems, use of technology for safety and security, smart mobility systems and many more.
What, for each of you, are the core strengths in this business?
With our specialized educational background in Strategy & Marketing and in Finance & Operations, we have the skills set to look after the entire group’s operations and grow it at the same time by leaps and bounds.
Do you plan to utilize any Indian firms or individuals in taking forward the various business ventures of Mr. Jalan.?
India is a land of opportunities today where numerous well-established businesses are present offering extraordinary products and services and new business starting up enhancing the whole ecosystem by way of new ideas and use of technology. The team of MJ Developers is very fortunate to have access to the entire system to be able to make best use of various businesses and individuals to compliment the domestic talent of Uzbekistan to deliver the best product to the people of the country.
MJ Developers’ is an international developer company with over 15 years of experience in the real estate sector.
Headquartered in Dubai, UAE, it is a creation of the Jalan family that has a wealth of
business experience in diverse industries spanning over 40 years in various
countries including India, Russia, Brazil, UAE and Uzbekistan. MJ Developers’ is
guided by high standards of corporate and ethical governance that define its
operational approach. Innovation, creativity and vertical integration. These are the core drivers of the brand’s long-term vision.
‘MJ Developers’ has diversified portfolios ranging from investment and development of
multiple real estate projects to the leasing of heavy-duty construction equipment. Its worth mentioning here that the group is leasing these equipments to some of the most recognized multinational corporations in Dubai, UAE.
Expanding its footprint internationally and realizing the real estate potential in Uzbekistan, the brand has committed itself to the following projects:
Bukhara 4-Star Hotel – 200+ Rooms
Namangan Square (18 Hectares) – Namangan
Minerva Smart City (93 Hectares) –Tashkent
Lake City (100 Hectares) – Tashkent
“MJ Developers believes ‘Namangan Square’ stands to be a catalyst project to spur growth in the
Ferghana Valley’s real estate industry which Tashkent has experienced in the recent past”.