Mr. Jerold Pereira, CEO -Videocon Mobile
Q. Please brief us about Videocon’s present day brand positioning and plans for India for FY2015-16?
A. Videocon, over the past three decade, has made the latest in technology accessible to the Indian customers at Value-For-Money pricing. This same ethos will carry the Videocon Mobile Handset Division forward. With an innovation-led business approach, Videocon Mobile Phones has a wide range of mobile devices from the latest in Android-based smartphones to high quality, highly affordable multi-media feature phones. The company has adopted a phase-wise approach of building its distribution presence and marketshare in select states before expanding on a pan-India basis. This objective has been successfully achieved in states like Rajasthan, UP-East, Punjab and Karnataka. The plan now is to penetrate states like AP and Telangana, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Maharashtra and Gujarat.
Q. How Videocon views Government’s Make in India initiative and does Videocon see it as an opportunity? And how will it affect the Indian handset manufacturers in general?
A. Videocon has traditionally been a R&D and manufacturing-led Group. Therefore, with the new impetus being given by the Government to ‘Make In India,’ the Group has been ramping up its local manufacturing capacity and capabilities in its plants at Aurangabad and Kashipur. In addition to put in more assembly lines in these two plants, the Group is also looking at increasing or converting manufacturing capacity at its plants in Telangana and Tamil Nadu, in line with the strategy to have much deeper distribution in the South. There are direct benefits to the Indian handset manufacturers by way of savings on import duty, lesser impact of USD volatility, etc. However, there are many other benefits by way of cost savings by indigenizing manufacturing. We are very optimistic about being able to capitalize on this opportunity given by the Government.
Q. What are the big plans for 2015? How many products will we see from Videocon this FY?
A. The success of this handset business, particularly in smartphones, depends on how one keeps pace with the evolving technology. On these lines, our focus is to stay abreast with all that is happening in the smartphone space, on the hardware and software realms, with what is happening on the airwaves side and the impending ramp-up of 4G as well as with the shift in Rest-of-India to 3G with high data usage. Our product portfolio will therefore reflecting this will be launching smartphones at regular intervals. At the same time, we will also not let go off the opportunity that continues to be present in multi-media feature phones and tablets.
Q. Apart from Mobile handsets, what all exciting categories Videocon is looking at such as wearables?
A. We believe that there still remains much to be done in the mobile handset space itself – be it on the hardware or software side. So that will be our main pre-occupation in the next few months. There is also much to be done in bringing technological convergence between our consumer electronics, home appliance, satellite television and mobility businesses, where a lot of R&D and effort is being invested. However, this will not preclude us from trying to launch innovations in the niche areas like wearables, watches, etc.
Q. Will Videocon push more towards online partnership?
A. As mentioned, we are working on a number of value-enhancing aspects on the hardware and software, which could also include domestic and offshore collaborations. It would be too premature to get into details at the moment.
Q. What are your plans with chipset in your devices; any latest developments on that front?
A. As said earlier, our success, particularly in smartphones is solely linked to our ability to stay in line with the evolving technology, including new chipsets. Being apt with market needs, our R&D teams are in regular touch with the leading chipset companies to ensure that we maintain abreast with their roadmaps and delivery schedules.
Q. Anything else would you like to share?
A. We believe the ‘Make In India’ drive has given us a lot more clarity and drive to stay ahead in the mobile handset business. With our manufacturing legacy and existing capabilities, as well as market-focused approach, we are sure that in the coming months Videocon will become a recognized and respected player in the mobile handset space.continue to play a leading role by launching innovative and value-added products.