1. Karbonn Mobiles is a new company that has been competing with some of the top giants of the Tech industry. How has the company been performing on the business front?
-Brand Karbonn has been doing exceptionally well since its inception and has become one of the top five mobile brands in the country in just about being four years into the market. Karbonn Mobiles started in the year 2009 with a meagre initial investment which now has grown into a Rs. 2000 crores approx turnover company. Over the past financial years, Karbonn Mobiles market share has increased from an impressive 3% in FY 09-10 to 6% in FY 11-12 which is expected to reach 10% by the financial year of 2012-13. Also the sales volume has increased from 3 million units in FY 09-10 to 10 million units which are expected to reach around 20 million units in the financial year of 2012-13. Karbonn Mobiles has been one of the first mobile phone players who introduced the concept of Dual-SIM mobile phones in the country, and has been one of the lead exponents of the Android revolution in India.
The brand has since its inception always visualised a technologically advanced country which does not have to give up on its needs and can afford cutting edge technological innovations at an affordable price range. This is the inherent ideology at Karbonn Mobiles, which has helped it to reach maximum consumers in a lesser time and has made Karbonn Mobiles a household name that it is today.
2. The brands mission is ‘Massifying Technology’, how do you propagate this through your products?
-Karbonn Mobiles intends to create a diverse demand in the Indian mobile phone market wherein creating an evolving intermix of product innovation, price consideration and need-demand; thereby entailing to take mobility to the masses and hence ‘Massify Technology’. With the USP at Karbonn Mobiles remaining on ‘Massifying Technology’, the brand by bringing the end-user the latest in technological innovations at a value-for-money cost range, entails to take mobility to every Indian hand. The basic tenet at Karbonn Mobiles is to make technology for everybody Me, You and the World; which coupled with the knowledge of Indian conditions and needs of consumers, along with being a local player which understands price sensibilities gives Karbonn Mobiles the much-needed edge in the highly volatile Indian mobile market.
3. With a massive turnover of Rs. 1,300 crores in the last three years, what are your expectations for the next three years?
-Karbonn Mobiles is on a rapid progression phase, wherein its market expansion strategy is varied, which entails making the brand amongst the top mobile brand in the country in times to come. For the FY 2012-13 we have had planned to step up our marketing expenditure by 30% to the tune of 195 crores up from an investment of Rs. 150 crores as of the last financial year, which has seen phenomenal results for the brand as well. This investment which will be spent on product development and brand promotions of Karbonn Mobiles entails creating awareness for the brand and create a pertinent customer engagement module, thus helping the brand reach out to major markets. In coming times, we are targeting to change the face of the Indian mobile phone market with our quality handsets and intend to be the top mobile phone brand in the country within the next three years. Also going forward, we are planning an elaborate layout to explore strategic tie-ups like actively engaging as a part of licensing with brands that are closely related with young audience and bring forth the experience of such brands to the Indian mobile phone market. In the next fiscal year 2013-14, we are targeting a revenue generation of Rs.3500 crores up from the current revenue generation of approximately Rs. 2000 crores which is expected to be achieved by the end of the current fiscal year (2012-13).
4. After being named amongst one of the top 5 Indian Mobile Brands, what is your next target?
Karbonn Mobiles understands that India is the fastest growing mobile market in the world wherein to increase sales in our addressable markets, we have undertaken a course of action wherein we have launched our handsets in various important countries of South Asia. We are also present in South East Asia, Middle East and African markets. It is by a pertinent mix of product placements in India and overseas that we intend to become one of the top three mobile brands by the next fiscal and seek to take technologies to the masses, and thus ‘massify technology’.
5. How has your tenure as MD of Karbonn Mobiles been so far?
– My tenure at Karbonn Mobiles as the Managing Director has been nothing short of being a fairytale journey. Starting out four years back with a small investment, a smaller team but loads of determination, my tenure at Karbonn has been filled with trials and tribulations and dogged determination which has helped us in reaching the zenith of the Indian mobile market. In this successful journey the major stakeholders have been the partners, the consumers, the dealers and the marketers, who have helped us in this amazing journey. I remember starting out as a major distributor of leading mobile phone brands, and the association with the dealers on a personal scale has helped us reach out to the markets on a massive scale. As the saying goes, Miles to go, before I sleep, I believe in working tirelessly and make this tenure at Karbonn Mobiles an inherently successful one.
6. Throw some light on inception and making of the Karbonn Brand.
-The foundation of Karbonn Mobiles was laid in 2009 when India was fast emerging as the one of the largest markets for mobile handsets wherein we intended to bring technology to the masses at an affordable price range. Our motto was to ‘Massify Technology’ which we have been quite successful since our inception. The tenet at Karbonn Mobiles is to give the Indian consumers freedom of choice in their mobility needs wherein we want to free them from the clutches of international players whose products, no doubt being high on technology, are to be true, over-priced. We want to show that consumers do not have to give up their technological needs because of money constraints and can actually acquire world-class technologies at affordable rates as well; which was the exact reason for the inception of the ‘Brand Karbonn’.
7. There is a large market internationally to capture. How do you plan to market your products in those sections?
As specified earlier, we are already present in South East Asia, Middle East and African markets. It is by a pertinent mix of product placements in India and overseas that we intend to become the top mobile brand in the country in the coming few years and seek to take technologies to the masses across the world. Also as a part of an international expansion plan of action, we are planning an elaborate international layout to explore strategic tie-ups like actively engaging as a part of licensing with international youth oriented brands wherein we seek to bring forth the international mobile experience of such brands to the Indian mobile phone market, and vice-versa.
8. Does Karbonn only tap Tier 1 and Tier 2 cities? Or is there a plan in place for rural regions too?
The impetus of Karbonn Mobiles is to ‘Massify Technology’ and to do that, we seek to take technological innovations to the masses. It is in the continuation of the said tenet that we at Karbonn Mobiles have created a diverse product range which is attuned to the needs and wants of the rural populace. Rural India today has become one of the top consumers of mobile phones and to address the needs of the booming consumer base of Rural India, Karbonn Mobiles has initiated a feature-rich product range which seeks to be an answer to all their mobile needs. Karbonn Mobiles has different marketing and product placement strategies in place for Tier I, Tier II and rural areas, conglomerating which it intends to create a pertinent demand for mobile technologies in the market and take technologies to the masses.
9. Apart from being a successful entrepreneur, what are your likes, hobbies and interests
– My interests lie with the national passion of India Cricket which I follow religiously. It has been the pursuit of the game, which has prompted us at Karbonn Mobiles to be associated with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) properties like the Indian Premier League (IPL) and Champions Trophy. Also, I am interested in cinema especially Bollywood and like watching Bollywood potboilers with my friends and family.
10. What is the one advice somebody gave you and you would want to pass it on to others?
–One of the most pertinent advices ever given to me, Be honest to your business activities involving partners and consumers, as it is what brings you success, is one advice that I vouch forever in my life. This advice which means being true to your work and be honest in your business dealings helps one scale the ladders of the business world and helps in being successful in life. I would advise everyone to be honest in their lives and remain true to partners-both dealers & consumers, which will help them being the best in whatever they do.