Consumer electronics maker Akai is planning to expand its footprint in India. In terms of sales, the company is banking on a mix of brand recall and pricing to be third time lucky in the country.
Akai was launched in India by Baron International, owned by the Mulchandanis, in the late 1990s. In 1999, Videocon took over the brand licence in India. Later, however, Akai snapped ties with the home-grown OEM.
In January 2010, Akai teamed up with Global Brands Enterprise Solutions for India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal.
Besides TV and home theatres, the company also tried to sell mobile handsets. But it ran into trouble when the local partner landed in a financial crisis. Finally, in 2016, it tied up with Hometech Digital, part of Delhi-based Paras Group, for a 10-year brand licensing pact.
From televisions, washing machines and air-conditioners, Akai has built a portfolio in the northern and western parts of the country, and is now planning to enter the eastern and southern markets.
According to the BusinessLine, Anurag Sharma, Director, Akai India said “The North and West are key consumer electronic markets. By the end of FY18, we should have a presence in the South and East,” .
In terms of pricing, Akai is positioned above the mass category players, he said, adding: “We are not competing with LG, Samsung and Sony. Pricing-wise we will almost be the same as a Panasonic.”
Akai had grabbed a sizeable market share in the TV segment in the late 1990s, but subsequently ceded it to the Korean majors. It still enjoys a certain amount of “brand recall”, which will come in handy now, said Sharma.
Initial launches in key North Indian markets showed that there was “a high recall”, which even distributors hadn’t expected, he said.
“Brand recall has to do the trick apart from aggressive pricing, quality offerings and after sales service,” he added.