Panasonic to dial mobile to scale up revenues in India

Japanese electronics corporation Panasonic’s India arm was looking to ramp up revenues via the handset business at a time when growth in different verticals of consumer durables have slowed down, a top company official said on Friday.

The firm, which just did a business of Rs.700 crores last year from its handset business, is looking to close this year at Rs.2,000 crore. “We are looking at a growth of 25 percent in the handset business this year and a growth of 35 percent at the end of the next year,” Panasonic India managing director Manish Sharma said on the sidelines of a Consumer Electronics and Appliances Manufacturers’ Association (CEAMA) event.

He said that the AC sales had slowed down due to an increase in cost of the product, unavailability of continuous power in Tier-II cities and less availability of consumer finance.

“Currently Bajaj Finance is the only provider for consumer finance across all verticals but for a more robust growth, more players need to step in. Also, the interest rate for consumer finance is borne by the manufacturers hence a more lucrative rate of interest needs to be in place,” he said.

The Japanese electronics major, which is targeting revenue of Rs.7,000 crore this year and Rs.10,000 crore by the end of the next financial year, is also in conversation with Karbonn to develop a more robust distribution channel for its smartphones.

Earlier, Panasonic had partnered with local player Jaina Marketing, the maker of Karbonn Mobiles, for its foray. Jaina is responsible for marketing, distribution and customer support for Panasonic’s Android-OS phones range.

“We are thinking of coming out with a new manufacturing unit for smartphones in India within nine months and are in the process of zeroing down on a location,” Sharma said.

“The unit could also look at third-party manufacturing keeping in mind our alliance with Karbonn,” he added.

Panasonic also clarified that it had no intention of exporting handsets made in India. The company will launch its handset business in Dubai next month followed by other countries in West Asia. “In another year or so we will also launch in Africa,” Sharma said.

The Japanese firm also said that it was looking at developing a better ecosystem for smartphones which may include apps as well.