New Delhi, Nov. 29: Japanese consumer durables player Akai is set to make a comeback with a new partner.
Akai ended its near decade-long licensing agreement with homegrown durables major Videocon in September. It has now entered into a pact with Global Brands Enterprise Solutions (GBES).
GBES is promoted by Pranay Dhabhai the former India head of Chinese white goods maker Haier.
We will revamp the brand and launch it in December or January. We will introduce a complete range of home electronics and appliances, strategise to sell our products in metros and tier I cities and later also plan to enter the telecom and IT space, Dhabhai told The Telegraph.
Undeterred by rivals such as LG and Samsung, which dominate the Rs 25,000-crore durables industry, Akai plans to continue in its current niche segment.
We are not looking at a leadership position. So, the idea is to continue to operate in the space that the brand is in right now. Akai is sold a lot in tier II and tier III cities, he said.
Industry estimates say the Rs 300-crore Akai brand enjoys a market share of 3-4 per cent and is dominant in consumer electronics, including television, DVD and home theatre.
New models will be introduced in consumer electronics, but the brand will now try and make its mark also in microwave ovens, washing machines, refrigerators, LCDs and air-conditioners.
On its relationship with Akai, a senior Videocon official said, We did not renew our agreement with Akai since Videocon was now in a consolidation mode and this was the only brand we sold through a licensing agreement, while the rest are owned by us.
Akai was introduced in the domestic market by Kabir Mulchandani-run Baron Electronics, which positioned itself as a price warrior to capture a major share for Akai in the colour television segment. The market was then dominated by BPL, Videocon, Philips and Onida.
However, Baron failed to maintain its momentum and ran into rough weather.
In 1999, Videocon entered into an alliance with Akai. Founded in Japan in 1929, Akai now has its headquarters in Singapore and is a subsidiary of Grande Holdings, a Hong Kong-based firm.