We at Gizbot interacted with Anurag Sharma, Director, AKAI India to find out about company's roadmap for the Indian market in the year 2017, and how it will fight the likes of Chinese and domestic companies who are selling feature loaded affordable products. Here's what we found out.
What took so long for AKAI to re-enter the Indian market?
We were selling products in India till 2010. Post that there were some brand licensing issues that we have now dealt with to re-enter the market. We didn't want to launch just one product but the entire range of consumer durables to build an ecosystem in India for consumers.
The last few months went into setting up the infrastructure, service-centers, offline portals and the toll-free numbers to make sure that the consumers get the best-in-class customer service when they invest in AKAI products in the coming months.
Now when the mandatory things are in place, we will be holding a launch event towards the end of March 2017 in India.
What's in store for Indian market in the year 2017 in terms of products?
We are coming out with the entire range of consumer durables this time, starting with the LED TVs, washing machines, refrigerators, the air-purifiers, home-theatres and sound bars. We also plan to introduce solar inverters and hybrid ACs in the next financial year.
How to plan to fight the likes of Chinese and domestic manufacturers who are offering feature loaded affordable Smart TVs in India?
AKAI is one of the few brands to offer Smart TVs with 1GB RAM + 8GB ROM configuration that differentiates the company's big screen products from the competition. Our LED TV range comprises of models ranging from 24-inch to 55-inches featuring Ultra HD 4K panels.
These TVs run on Android Smart TV (Version 6.0) OS and will also feature AKAI Store that allows users to install a variety of apps to stream music, videos, games, etc. right in their living room.
We tend to offer quality products at super affordable prices. Our feature packed LED TVs start from as low as Rs. 12,000 for the 24-inch variant to Rs. 60,000 for the bigger 55-inch variant. Besides, we will also introduce the latest range of our 'Slim' LED TVs in the Indian market to offer the perfect match of style and performance.
We don't want to compromise on quality and after service support. AKAI products will come with three-year warranty and we are also developing a mobile app where consumers can directly reach AKAI for customer support.
Besides, we have a plan to spend somewhere around 100 cr in the year 2017 on marketing, brand building and improving the infrastructure.
How you plan to sell the products in Indian market in your new innings?
We are holding discussions with the leading e-commerce platforms and soon we will announce our partnership to sell our products online. We also plan to open AKAI's exclusive stores- 'Akai Home-stores' once the entire range is here in India, possibly by the end of 2017.
We are investing heavily in the offline market and will ensure that all of our partners will get the required support to showcase our products to the tech-savvy consumers in India. We are working on to establish a network of 200 distributors, 2000 dealers and 400 service centers across the country by the year 2017.
Do you plan to manufacture products in India?
We are planning to set up a manufacturing plant in India next year (2018). Until then, we are fetching components from AKAI's homegrown market and will assemble the products in India.
IoT is considered as the next big thing and Chinese companies are betting big on IoT products. Do you have any plans to step into IoT segment?
IoT is still evolving but with the introduction of affordable internet we believe that the year 2018 will see huge developments and innovations in IoT ecosystem in India. We at AKAI don't want to miss the opportunity and you will see a slew of IoT based products for consumers from AKAI in India in the coming years.
What's our take?
Based on our conversation with Anurag Sharma, Director, AKAI India, we believe that the tech major can tap a huge market if their products manages to match the likes of brands such as Samsung, LG and Sony who are the leaders in consumer durables market.
A lot depends on how AKAI ensures that the product quality is maintained and customers get the required after sales service support, which serves as a major stepping stone to win in price conscious markets like India.
The company will soon hold a launch event in India where we expect to see some affordable feature loaded products in a number of categories mentioned in the interview.
Stay tuned for more updates on AKAI on GIZBOT.