Bangalore, June 30, 2005
NRI, a group of Seattle-based American investors
have pooled their resources to set up an international
hospital chain in India offering world-class
healthcare services to the burgeoning middle
Columbia Asia, the international healthcare
provider, promoted by high networth individuals
in the US, is investing $15 million upfront
to set up three hospitals in Bangalore and five
more in metro A and B cities over the next five
Choosing the IT capital as the hub of its Indian
operations, Columbia is launching its first
facility, a community healthcare hospital, at
Hebbal in north Bangalore on July 11.
"Perhaps, we are the first overseas healthcare
provider to enter India through the automatic
FDI (foreign direct investment) route for healthcare
services, which was opened up last year for
100 per cent investment.
"Our game plan is to bring in internationally
proven healthcare systems into India by incorporating
professional and efficient practices,"
Columbia Asia Medical Centre CEO Tufan Ghosh
told reporters here on Thursday.
The 75 in-patient bed hospital will provide
multi-specialities with international policies
and procedures. The other two hospitals in the
southern and western suburbs of the city will
come up in the next two years with a similar
"We have chosen locations in this high-tech
city, keeping in view the accessibility to our
target group, namely the growing middle class.
Our market survey has shown these locations
are currently under-serviced," Ghosh said.
In the second phase, Columbia will be looking
at other cities such as Delhi, Pune, Chennai,
Hyderabad and Bhubaneshwar for similar hospitals
with an additional investment of $15 million,
excluding real estate costs.
With about 40 full-time and part-time specialised
doctors, 175 nursing and paramedical personnel,
the Hebbal hospital will provide multi-specialty
healthcare covering out-patient and in-patient
The 24-hour accident and emergency services
will make use of the latest technology to deliver
world-class healthcare to patients at affordable
cost, which will be less than other private
or corporate hospitals in the city.
According to group medical director Nanda Kumar
Jairam, the key differentiator between Columbia
and other hospitals will be the quality of service
delivery and practice of ethics.
"We have tapped the local talent pool,
which is as good as the best in the world. A
lot of non-resident Indian (NRI) doctors, especially
specialists in the US and Europe are looking
forward to coming back and serving the country
through hospital chains like ours," Jairam
Incidentally, Columbia Asia has been operating
its hospital chains in Malaysia and Vietnam
since 1995. It also plans to foray into other
Asian countries in the coming years.