Jammu & Kashmir has become a focal point for foreign investors, particularly from West Asian nations, with various sectors such as shopping malls and food processing garnering attention. Emaar Group, a renowned real estate firm, is planning to build a shopping mall spanning 500,000 square feet in Srinagar. As part of this project, LuLu Group, a West Asian supermarket chain, will establish a hypermarket within the mall’s premises.

M A Yusuff Ali, the chairman of LuLu Group, has verified the progress of the project and stated that the company has signed an agreement to establish a hypermarket within the shopping mall that is being constructed by Emaar Properties. This initiative coincides with LuLu Group’s earlier move to export apples, saffron, and dry fruits from the state as the company’s first foreign direct investment in the region.

Recently, the state government of Jammu & Kashmir inked a contract with LuLu Group to establish a food processing and logistics hub in Srinagar. This facility will facilitate the distribution of products from the state to 247 LuLu hypermarkets situated in West Asia.

M A Yusuff Ali, the chairman of LuLu Group, has confirmed that the company has already set up sourcing offices in Srinagar, Jammu & Kashmir. In the ongoing financial year, LuLu Group has exported a variety of products, including apples, vegetables, walnuts, and saffron, valued at approximately INR 70 crore. Additionally, the company is investing around $100 million in the food processing and packaging segment of the region.

The development of the shopping mall in Srinagar, which is being undertaken by real estate major Emaar, was announced in January 2022, following a real estate firms summit in Jammu & Kashmir. A total of 39 Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) were signed during the summit, with a potential investment of approximately INR 19,000 crore. Of these MoUs, 20 were in the residential sector, seven in commercial, four in hospitality, and three in infratech, among others.

In recent times, Jammu & Kashmir has gained attention due to several significant developments in the industrial sector. For instance, on February 17 of this year, the JSW Group announced its intention to establish a color-coated steel manufacturing unit with a capacity of 120,000 metric tonnes in the region. 

Additionally, the discovery of large reserves of lithium in J&K has generated considerable interest. This discovery has made India the world’s third-largest holder of lithium reserves, behind Chile and Australia, and can meet the country’s lithium ion cell manufacturing requirements for the next five decades, assuming that the entire 5.99 million tonnes is extractable. 

According to a report by Arthur D Little, this discovery could support 10 TWh of lithium-ion cell manufacturing, compared to the current demand of 3 GWh, which is expected to rise to 20 GWh by 2026 and 70 GWh by 2030. Reports suggest that the government is planning to auction off the lithium reserves by June, with the condition that all refining activities take place in India.