The consumer electronics industry is going through a disruption again. The absence of Videocon, for the time being, has given an opportunity to all the brands to fill the slot vacated by the incumbent.
The Indian market has gained the attention of global brands, keen to corner a share in this soaring economy, poised for a 7.4 percent growth this year, higher than the advanced economies and the world, which are at 2 percent and 3 percent respectively.
Xiaomi is looking at being one of the leading brands in smart TVs and plans to set up manufacturing facilities in India. Skyworth is shortly graduating to a 100 percent Indian subsidiary. Commencing from the launch of its products in August in the southern western region, the company plans to have pan India presence by September 2018. Sony has an Indian spearheading its Indian operations, unprecedented so far. TCL, having tasted success in 2017, with a reported increase in sales volume of 120 percent, as an Amazon exclusive, is going offline and spreading its wings in tier-II and tier-III cities. The maker has reiterated its commitment with the launch of an India-centric smart TV brand. Thomson has announced its aggressive stance in the market. Sharp is looking at expanding with a dealer network, beyond its exclusive agreement with Reliance Digital.
Marketing strategy of each brand may vary, with some initially making their presence felt through online sales, spreading to the dealer network, and then setting up manufacturing facilities. But across the board, aggressive pricing is key.
The recent takeover of Flipkart by Walmart lends credence to the fact that the Indian market can no longer be ignored. Considered an expensive buy at USD 16 billion, for a 77 percent stake, creating an annualized EPS drag of about 60 cents, adding pressure to the e-commerce business to reach profitability, it is nevertheless seen as a brilliant long-term move. Optimizing its international portfolio by expanding in key faster-growing markets, it is perceived as an investment essential to compete with the likes of Alibaba and Amazon.
India is certainly a preferred destination today; how long we can sustain this interest is another story!