'Our idea is that every household in the future should have at least one Hitachi product'

Hitachi is a Japanese multinational conglomerate headquartered in Chiyoda, Japan. Chen Teck Beng, Managing Director of AHSG and Tarun Jain, Business Development Manager were at the meet and greet programme of Hitachi in Nepal along with the Executive Director of Ramesh Corp, Sanjay Agrawal who is the official distributor of Hitachi home appliances in Nepal under their company, Universal Electrocom.

At the event, Hitachi announced the four different products that will soon be available in the market: Hitachi Microwave Oven, Hitachi Front Load Fully Automatic 12 KG Washing Machine, Hitachi French Bottom Refrigerator 638Ltr. and Hitachi Cordless Stick Vacuum Cleaner. Also on display were various products of Hitachi such as refrigerators, washing machines and vacuum cleaners to familiarise attendees with the products and share details of the user experience.

Business 360 spoke to the three briefly about the launch of Hitachi products in the country, market competition, affordability and sustainability of business.

What is the vision of Hitachi in Nepal?

Tarun: Nepal’s economy has gone through ups and downs as we know but we also know that now the situation is much better and if you look at data and at the future prospect, Nepal is growing its GDP by 6.6% and the political situation is also very stable. So, we are looking at Nepal in a very positive way and expect a good growth here. We are offering products suitable for this market and have a strategic plan to grow our market share in the coming future. We are targeting mid and high-end segments as we are a premium brand.

Hitachi and Arcelik went into a joint venture last year. We are trying to use the strength of both companies.

What will be the key drivers for growth for Hitachi in the coming time?

Tarun: We are looking at consumer electronic business as a whole. We are studying the market, the statistics that are there, and we see certain markets and certain segments growing exponentially, for example washing machines. We are watching carefully and developing the strategies to meet demand.

How do you rate the competition in Nepal for the segment you are offering?

Chen: I think competition is not new to us, we have very established success stories around Asia. Competition needs to be sought everywhere. Technically we deploy our success story from what we have done in the past and we make sure it’s going to work here and not only the strategy involved but also the products. Hence, we are pretty sure that good partners will help Hitachi flourish in the market.

What are your plans for expansion and distribution here?

Sanjay: In terms of distribution and expansion, we have been delivering as per expectation but we definitely will be changing gears as we are getting special support from Hitachi Singapore. We will be more aggressive in terms of marketing, service and in distribution, so our target is to make Hitachi among the top three selling brands in the next one year.

What is the flagship product you are launching and its major features?

Chen: We are here to promote the brand and in terms of product, we want to offer our best to the market. Since we are doing a joint venture, we are coming up with newer products with newer technologies in the products. ‘Innovative products with competitive cost’ are what we are working on and we are launching a new line up of products with the same intention. The product range will increase as we are focusing on 3-4 categories.

What is Hitachi’s USP?

Tarun: Hitachi is itself a USP and what we want to tell the media and our partner is that Hitachi is different from all the big corporations in the market. We want to have a separate identity for Hitachi from all the brands that are available in the market, and place it as a premium brand widely in the market. Our idea is that every household in the future should have at least one Hitachi product.

How are you dealing with the current import ban on certain goods?

Sanjay: We have been dealing with this problem for the last six months in Nepal but it has not caused a big problem for us. We would easily operate and open LC in Nepal but due to the financial crisis, it is a problem but hopefully, it will not last for long. We have been managing and dealing with some difficulties with the central bank. I am myself on the committee to deal with such policies. I think we have been managing till now and will be managing alright in the future. There have been some obstacles but we will overcome them.

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