They shattered the “bigger is better” (read: louder) myth. But they aren’t likely to shatter your windows. They're too smart for that.
The most popular name in the sound business is finally coming back to its ethnic roots. Bose Corporation, manufacturers of revolutionary Bose speakers and sound systems, started by the half-Bengali Dr Amar G. Bose in 1964, is setting up its first Calcutta office “within 45 days”, with the promise of a retail centre to follow. Setting up a “professional systems division” is, however, the first order of business, with a growing client-base in Calcutta, including commercial properties like ITC Sonar Bangla on the E.M. Bypass and the upcoming Shoppers’ Stop on Elgin Road.
Having entered the Indian market in 1995, Bose opened its first retail outlet in 1998 in Delhi, following it up with a showroom in Mumbai last year.
While the US-based, privately-held company is scouting around for a proper location for the Calcutta outlet, it is now busy getting the service end in place. “The first thing our clients can expect is customer support,”explains Ratish Pandey, general manager of Bose’s Indian division. In town to set the ball rolling, he also checked the Sonar Bangla facilities, which have been installed with Bose audio and video equipment, including “over 200 speakers”.
With the Bose quality assurance in the minds of most consumers, a hefty price tag also comes along. But Pandey believes Bose products are competitive. A pair of speakers could run up a bill of “anything between Rs 14,900 to Rs 90,000”, depending on features, size and power. Audio systems range from Rs 70,000 to Rs 130,000, while the Bose 3-2-1 DVD-based home theatres command a price of Rs 70,000 to over Rs 2 lakh.
Though a “large number” of Calcuttans are already Bose clients, they either import the products, source them from the other Indian centres or go to the grey market. Now, they will have easier access to service as well as installation.
“India and West Bengal have been kind to Bose. We had tried to enter the market under less liberal regimes, and are succeeding only after our third attempt,” says Pandey.
In India so far, the clamour for home theatre systems has been the loudest. “Only those who are very interested in music would go for an audio system. With these things becoming family decisions, most opt for complete home theatres, on which music can also be played,” explains Pandey.
Now, the 40-year-old Corporation aims to enter “all Indian homes”, with the annual growth rate hovering between 60 and 70 per cent.