Akai, a consumer electronics maker that is now based in Singapore, is attempting a comeback into the Indian market as a maker of premium products, discarding its earlier strategy of selling low-priced products.
Akai introduced its range of color televisions in India in 1995 at Rs9,999, significantly cheaper than the prices of rival brands available at that time and captured a large share of the market. However, its popularity quickly fizzled out because of ill-conceived strategies and an onslaught by South Korean brands such as LG and Samsung.
Anurag Sharma, director, Hometech Digital Pvt. Ltd, a part of New Delhi-based Paras Group that has a 10-year licence starting July 2016 to sell Akai products in India.
Paras Group already sells products of electronics brands including Sony, LG Electronics, Nikon, Tata Sky, Motorola and Gionee.
Hometech has done a soft launch of the brand in October, introducing LED TVs and washing machines. It plans to introduce air conditioners, home theatres, air purifiers and refrigerators over the next few months.
Hometech will spend about Rs150 crore in brand building, marketing and distribution over next 15 months for Akai.
In its third attempt to establish its presence in India, Akai teamed up with Global Brands Enterprise Solutions Pvt. Ltd in January 2010 for India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal. Besides TV and home theatres, the company also tried to sell mobile handsets but that wasn’t successful after Akai’s local partner landed in a financial crisis.
By Baishakhi Dutta