A whopping 20 million.
that's the number of wireless handsets (GSM & CDMA) that will be
sold this year-more than double the number of colour tvs sold annually.
That's also the magic number that makes local assembly and manufacturing
viable. And companies are taking the bait. Consumer electronics
major Videocon (through a tie-up with Alcatel) will start assembling
completely knocked down (CKD) kits in six months at its plants in
Aurangabad and Kolkata. Though labour is a small component of handset
cost (less than 5 per cent), the eye-popping difference between
international and local labour costs (over 30 times) becomes significant
when spread over larger numbers, says Videocon Chairman Venugopal
Dhoot. Another company bitten by the manufacturing bug is the Chennai-based
Munoth Industries (it currently retails an eponymous brand of phones
imported from Korea, which is investing Rs 50 crore to set up the
infrastructure. Consumer electronics major BPL also plans to launch
locally manufactured phones next month. Besides, the US-based UtStarcom
is looking at local manufacture of GSM phones. Nokia had better
"Feel Proud About Brand India"
the Managing Director of Interbrand Inside, a division of world's
top brand consulting firm, Interbrand, Ian Buckingham helps shape
some of the best-known brands such as American Express, Philips
and Marks & Spencer. Recently in India, where Interbrand has
a tie up with Equitor Management Consulting, Buckingham gave his
take on brands in India. Excerpts:
How do you see branding in India?
I think that on a corporate level and national
level, brand India is absolutely at the crossroads. There are plenty
of hidden jewels that are growing rapidly by offering innovative
products to the UK. Take for example Flexcube, a standard for banking
software in 93 countries. It (i-Flex) has quietly built a product
that is probably the only serious software product coming out of
Indian it business. Jet Airways is another brand that is so true
to the Indian culture and values. The service we experienced was
a great one and I think it's a great opportunity in terms of making
it a standard for airlines. The electric car Reva should also make
headlines in the UK. It's very much in line with what UK needs now.
The focus needs to be on building brand awareness within India and
making people proud about the brands.
You have been talking a lot about internal
branding. What is internal branding?
The short hand of that is ensuring that the
people within your organisation are in a position to deliver the
brand promises that you are making.
How does one implement it?
First, mobilise your top team on the business
case for doing this. Then comes the communication step, where the
organisation fully knows what the brand is and the values it holds,
why it holds such values, and sharing their story so that people
are aware of it. Finally, create platforms for people to explore
for themselves and understand personally and fundamentally, and
see the behaviour indications among them as individuals.
The US' dance with the EU may hurt India.
It is far more
difficult to achieve a consensus when there are three points of
view involved. At the World Trade Organisation, this suited India
and other developing countries just fine. These countries have all
along maintained that they will not open up their markets to agricultural
imports until developed countries scrapped all forms of subsidies.
The conflict between the US and the European Union on this issue-the
former is keen on the liberalisation of agricultural trade while
the latter wishes to retain the flexibility to continue subsidies-has
traditionally helped developing countries get their way. Now, it
looks like they'll no longer be able to use this strategem. Reason:
a recent announcement by the US and the EU to the effect that they
have arrived at an agreement on the issue of agricultural subsidies.
India is sticking to its original position that it will consider
the issue of opening up its market to agricultural imports only
after understanding the actual cuts effected by the US and the EU
in their subsidies. Not all news, however, is bad: 14 developing
nations, including India, China, Brazil and Mexico have forged an
alliance to oppose the US-EU move. "This will not only provide
the developing world with greater negotiating power," explains
T.K. Bhaumick, Senior Advisor (Trade Policy), Confederation of Indian
Industry, "but also result in some hard negotiating at the
coming meet". The worry is that the US-EU combine could force
developing countries to discuss issues related to investment and
government procurement (put simply, they don't want to do this).
And some analysts suggest that not too much be made of the 14 nation
axis. "Remember Doha," they chorus. India, for the benefit
of those who know little of the Doha round of talks of the WTO,
stood alone in its opposition to introducing new issues for discussion
at the conference.
Creating a buzz, alright
Bose's move from Reliance Infocomm to Tata Teleservices as President
seems to be roiling waters in the Tata company. Key executives are
being shuffled around and the company's Managing Director S. Ramakrishna-surprisingly
(because he should be the one deciding on the role changes)-doesn't
seem to be happy about it. When BT spoke to him, he did sound a
little disturbed over the redeployment of a "credible person"
such as the coo of Tamil Nadu circle R. Balachandran to the Andhra
Pradesh and Gujarat circles. BT will be keeping an eye on the developments
Meanwhile, Marico's Harsh Mariwala continues
to lose people. Between January and June this year he lost COO Jaspal
Bajwa, Marketing Head Arvind Mendiretta, and GM (HR) Chetana Gargava.
Now, it's the turn of Marico Healthcare CEO Pranab Datta to call
it quits after a 13-year stint at the group. BT hears that he's
joining housing major, Mahindra GESCO. There's movement at Pepsi,
too, where CIO Upal Chakrabarty has moved to BPO major Convergys
in a similar capacity. "The challenges of a CIO in the IT-enabled
sector are far more than in FMCG. In Pepsi, it is merely a support,
but in (Convergys) it is the backbone," explains Chakrabarty.
Things are warming up at Ramesh Vangal's Scandent
Network. Come September, it will get a new Vice President (marketing
& new business development) in Ashish Mishra. Until early this
year, Mishra was Bacardi's Marketing Controller, which he quit to
join the WPP Group's marketing consultancy, the Henley Centre, as