Panasonic on the resurgence trail

Chennai: The Panasonic brand in India is being resurrected. One of the earliest foreign consumer durable brands (television, music systems) to have entered India - it was initially called National Panasonic and later renamed Panasonic, it lost market and mind share when low-cost Korean brands took over the market.

The reasons for Panasonic's decline were simple. The Korean brands were cheaper or at least perceived to be lower-priced and the Koreans outspent their better-established rivals on promotion.

Coupled with that Panasonic's Japanese parent, Matshushita Electric Industrial Company Limited, on the other hand didn't consider India an important market.

But times have changed and Matshushita Electric has redrawn its Indian strategy. The Indian operations were restructured. First an India Strategy Group was formed to help in the restructuring process and one of the key members is an Indian. The idea is to have the entire range of consumer durables and electronics used in a middle-class Indian home and ensure that every home has at least one Panasonic product.

A new company Panasonic Sales and Services India Pvt Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Matshushita Electric, has been incorporated with its headquarters in Chennai.

Arjun Balakrishnan, director, operations, says, "The first part of the restructure exercise is to come to Chennai from New Delhi. As we report to Matshushita Electric's Singapore office, Chennai is a convenient location for travelling executives."