US shoe maker New Balance Athletic Shoe (NB) is teaming up with Royal Sporting House to market and distribute its goods in India.

NB plans to open 50 outlets there by 2008 and is also looking to sell through retailers such as like Bata, Regal, Metro, Lords and Pantaloon Lifestyle. The company said it wants to break into India's running and walking shoes markets.

In addition, it is eyeing India as a manufacturing hub, and is planning to set up operations in Uttaranchal. It does not plan a wholly owned subsidiary there as yet, however.

"For NB, India is the most important and fast growing sportswear market after China in the entire South East Asia," Asia Pacific Head of New Balance, Darren Tucker, was quoted by the press as saying.