SEOUL-- GS Group, a South Korean energy and construction conglomerate, is looking to India as it seeks new business opportunities in the rapidly growing market, it said Thursday.

In an executive meeting held in New Delhi from Wednesday to Thursday, GS Group Chairman Huh Chang-soo said India's domestic market grows an average of 7 percent annually and is strategically important for South Korean companies, as it plays a bridgehead role for them in moving into the Middle East and Europe.

"GS Group needs to advance to new businesses in India based on the experience and trust it has built there," he was quoted as saying during the meeting.

GS Group, the country's seventh-biggest conglomerate by assets, has held meetings of executives in high-potential markets such as China, Singapore and Vietnam since 2011.

In 2004, the first year after the group was launched, it earned 7.1 trillion won (US$6.4 billion), or 30 percent, of its total sales of 23.5 trillion won from overseas businesses, and the ratio jumped to 50.9 percent, or 51.6 trillion won, of its overall sales of 26.3 trillion won last year.

Already in India, GS Group affiliates are in the process of strengthening their presence in the world's second-most populous country.

Korea's No. 2 refiner GS Caltex Corp. sells lubricants in India through its Mumbai subsidiary. GS Home Shopping Inc. mainly sells products made by Korean small and medium-sized companies through HomeShop18, a home shopping channel joint venture set up with an Indian company. And GS Engineering and Construction Co. has established local subsidiaries specializing in planning, the group said.

Source: Yonhap News Agency