Marketing review

30 Aug 2007


Volvo to launch S80, XC90 in India in September 2007
New Delhi:
Swedish carmaker Volvo has announced plans to launch its sedan S80 and the sport-utility vehicle XC90 by next month through its subsidiary, Volvo Cars India.

Both models will be available in petrol and diesel variants, with a 3.2-litre and 4.4-litre engine for the petrol variant, and a 2.5-litre engine in the diesel variant.

The company has a dealership each in Delhi, Mumbai and Chandigarh. Volvo Cars would initially import both models as completely built units.

Volvo has priced the petrol variant of the S80 in the range of Rs39 lakh to Rs40.7 lakh, with the price of the diesel variant ranging from Rs38 lakh to Rs39.6 lakh.

The XC90 petrol variant is priced in the range of Rs46 lakh to Rs48 lakh, and the diesel version of the SUV between Rs45 lakh to Rs47 lakh. The prices are not likely to vary between the three cities where the company has its dealerships.

Women''s wear brand ''W'' to be sold through Reliance Retail
New Delhi:
''W'', the premium ready-to-wear women''s wear brand, is actively looking to expand its presence in the market, and plans to invest Rs50 crore over the coming two-year period to secure an even more visible pan-India presence.

According to ''W'' CEO Vijay Mishra, the brand ''W'' has been moving ahead rapidly since its establishment in 2002, and has been able to carve a niche for itself in the ready-to-wear segment by building on its innovative styling that couples international fashion trends with day-to-day functionality.

''W'' intends to change its brand positioning from the contemporary Indian woman fusion wear, to a more fashion oriented position, one which changing with fashion trends.

CEO Mishra says that over the past few years, the company''s understanding of its target audience, the contemporary Indian woman, has revealed needs for more than just fusion wear that the company caters to with its present line-up.

The contemporary Indian woman needs to be trendy, and at par with the current trends. ''W'' is actively addressing the increasing demand as identified by its understanding of its target market, and has decided to extensively increase its presence in India as a complete wardrobe solution for the contemporary Indian woman.

The company plans to expand its retail presence to 200 points of sale, spread across 30 cities, including 45 exclusive brand stores across 25 cities.

Its expansion plans have seen the company enter into the budget ethnic women''s wear segment through its brand Weve. ''W'' has also entered into an alliance with Reliance Retail to market Weve via the retail giant''s hypermarket and speciality format stores.

For ''W'', the advantage of partnering with Reliance is significant savings on money, retail space and logistics, freeing up resources to focus its energies on developing the brand. Weve will not have any standalone stores, and will only be marketed through Reliance Retail''s stores.

The brand plans to cover around 250 sq ft of the Reliance''s store floor space in smaller cities, and plans for its in-shop presence to cover around 450 sq ft in bigger cities.

Weve''s price points range from Rs250 to Rs495, as it is targeted at the middle class modern woman. The second phase of brand development will see the addition of accessories and other additions to Weve''s product line.

Toyota Kirloskar Motor to enter the used-car business
Following Ford and Maruti in their used-car endeavours, Toyota too has decided to move into the used car space. Toyota Kirloskar Motor (TKM) is planning its enter the used car business, ahead of new launches and more brand loyalty schemes.

The used car business in India is largely unorganised, though there have been recent attempts by some vehicle manufacturers to set up their own-brand outlets, which will add Toyota to the list over the next couple of months.

Ford''s used car programme, Ford Assured, and Maruti''s True Value have seen good success in not just profiting from the used car business, but also extending brand reliability and customer loyalty.

However, organised used-car dealers face a much more difficult sales pitch, as customer expectations are high while they continue to be unwilling to pay a premium on the vehicle, unless they see a considerable value-add in buying the car.

Market sources indicate that the first outlets of Toyota''s ''You Trust'' are most likely to open in Delhi, Bangalore, and Chennai, and would probably be owned and operated by the company''s new car dealers in these cities.

The used-car outlets would offer services such as evaluation and trading-in of customer''s existing cars, and would cater primarily to buyers looking for a certified pre-owned car that will serve as an upgrade.

The outlets are expected to be perform independent of the new car dealerships, but would be linked to them for after-sales support.

They are expected to employ company trained engineers who would follow a pre-programmed inspection and certification process designed to offer buyers improved reliability, while computing the price for the used car.

Similar to the programs of competing car companies, the dealership-cum-workshop would also probably offer the used-car buyer a post-purchase warranty (of usually a year), and/or free services during a limited period.

Anil Ambani-promoted Reliance Entertainment to spend $100 million on Bigflicks venture
The Anil Ambani-promoted Reliance Entertainment Ltd (REL) is set to synergise the online model of movie rentals largely present in the US and European markets by adding online distribution of entertainment content to its portfolio.

The company has launched an internet property (IP) under its ''Big'' brand, christened REL also plans to enter into the offline DVD / VCD rental business, in a model likely to be similar to US DVD rental company Blockbuster, by launching retail stores under the same brand - Bigflicks.

Reliance Entertainment president Rajesh Sawhney has announced that the rental business will commence this September, with the first three outlets under the Bigflicks banner coming up in Hyderabad, Pune, and Chandigarh. The company is looking at a count of 100 outlets by the end of this financial year, and plans to grow it to 500 stores over a three year period.

The average Bigflicks store would be spread over a 400-500 sq ft area, with larger flagship stores measuring upto 1,000 sq ft. The company is looking at a mix of leased and owned stores. According to Kamal Gianchandani, COO, home entertainment, Reliance Entertainment, the company plans to invest $100 million in both the ventures, 75 per cent of which has been earmarked for the offline DVD/VCD rental business.

The company envisages revenues accruing from the online venture, with a significant proportion coming from the rental business. Subscriptions are seen to be the primary revenue driver for the rental business.

Recently, companies like and, along with a few others already operate in the DVD / VCD rental business in the country, which is still dominated by the largely unorganised neighbourhood VCD libraries that function as a left-over from the erstwhile proliferation of Video cassette libraries of the late 1980s.

The onslaught of cable television was largely responsible for the withering away of hugely profitable video libraries in the 90s, though video rentals continue to command a niche even today.

Initial funding for the Bigflicks venture will come from internal accruals, with possibilities of other funding options at a later stage, even though plans are yet to crystallise. The company expects the venture to breakeven in about two years from launch.

Working in sync with home entertainment divisions of major companies, Bigflicks plans to procure rental rights for DVD/VCD already being distributed by these companies. REL intends to offer over 6,000 titles across movie genres, increasing to over 17,000 titles available at all the 100 outlets across the country.

Bigflicks online content distribution plans to target audiences by offering entertainment content for free online streaming with advertisements, and for download on rent or to own, without advertisements. Titles are likely to include TV serials, music videos, as well as Hollywood and other international movies, directly targeting the 25 million-strong NRI segment during the first year of operation.

Primary target markets include North America, the UK, Canada, Middle East, South East Asia, Europe and Australia, with movie purchases priced between $4.49 and $19.99.

Audio hardware maker Sonodyne plans a comeback
Though it may have faded in to memory, the country''s first home-grown sound label Sonodyne, once a key player in the audio hardware industry in the 1970s, is now planning a comeback in the domestic and overseas markets.

Presently, Sonodyne has seen exports of high-end studio monitor speakers to around 20 countries, and is seeking to enter the home audio market overseas, once it establishes its credibility in this highly critical and specialised space.

In the home audio segment, Sonodyne offers complete music solutions through dedicated experience centres, better known as "Listening Rooms", which are set up via tie-ups with brand partners like Hitachi (for plasma and LCD TVs), and Monster of the US (for cables).

The company, founded by Ashoke Mukherjee and Aikat Mukherjee, and was a leader of its time, bringing in innovation like hi-fi stereo systems under its sub-brands of Uranus and Orpheo in the 1980s.

However, in the ''90s, the government imposed stiff trade barriers, including stipulations that required large amounts of margin money to be kept in banks against imports. This effectively ensured the demise of the brand, as Sonodyne has a very high import content.

The partnership too, ended with the brand, though Sonodyne survived somewhat by banking on "sound engineering outsourcing" (SEO), which saw it supplying extremely high-end speakers and amplifiers to niche global players, while maintaining an almost invisible presence in the domestic market.

Sonodyne diversified into home audio, installed sound, professional sound, and studio monitoring, building on learnings and technology from the SEO experience. The domestic mass market continued to be out of the brand''s reach, on account of MNCs and their cheaper products, high volumes and wafer-thin margins.

However, in its specialised niche, Sonodyne is present in most Bollywood studios and All India Radio stations, various cinema halls, restaurants, auditoriums, and retail chains. In the installed sound segment, the London and Sydney Opera houses, the Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics, and a host of other establishments rely on Sonodyne equipment. SEO continues to be the breadwinner for the brand, bring in 70 per cent of its revenues.

The company now has three "Listening Rooms" in Bangalore, Mumbai and Ahmedabad, and is looking to expand its retail footprint in Pune, Kolkata, Delhi and Hyderabad over the next two years, during which time it plans to open 20 outlets, with some of them being based on the franchisee models.

Hotel-season tariffs up by about 25 per cent starting September
Mumbai: September will see hotel tariffs revised upwards in Mumbai by almost 25 per cent. Additionally, hotels also plan to adopt single-currency pricing as well to profit from the strong rupee.

Starting 1 September, hotels will price tariffs in rupees, and will provide foreign guests with the choice of settling their dues in an international currency of their choice. Usually, the conversion rate applicable would be the day''s exchange rate, though some hotels charge a premium on the daily exchange rate.

September marks the commencement of the business season for the Indian hospitality industry. With widespread room shortages, hotel companies stand poised to leverage the supply-demand gap.

East India Hotels to ramp up capacity by about 60 per cent
East India Hotels (EIH), the Oberoi group''s flagship, is planning to boost capacity by 60 per cent, up from the existing 4,100 rooms to 6,800 across its hotels in India as well as overseas.

It is estimated that the company will require an infusion of up to Rs4,500 crore to accomplish this capacity expansion. About Rs1,000 crore of this investment will come from EIH, with the balance coming from borrowings and partner agreement, whose hotels The Oberoi will manage.

The remaining 1,400-odd rooms will come under the Oberoi banner through overseas projects in Dubai, Maldives and Angkor Vat in Cambodia.

Sources say that the company has already signed a memoranda of understanding to manage hotels in seven other destinations, including two hotels in Abu Dhabi , one in Oman, one at Sharm-el-Sheikh in Egypt, one in Marrakesh in Morocco and one each at Paro and Thimpu in Bhutan.

Another two 30-room properties have been planned for Bhutan. The company expects a relatively low occupancy rate of about 45 per cent, and plans to provide the room rate advantage, which commands $800-$900 a day in the mountain kingdom of Bhutan.

New hotels, one each in Pune and in Kolkata, are also reportedly on the anvil under EIH''s Trident brand. The company is learnt to be seeking prospective sites in both cities.

Uniform-sized billboards in Mumbai from 2008
Mumbai''s outdoor advertising may wear a somewhat uniform look in times to come, thanks to the Brihan Mumbai Municipal Corporation''s (BMC) plans to amend by-laws which will standardise the size of billboards across the city by March 2008.

The amendments will also see a new set of rules mandating several "dos and don''ts", such as bans on billboards in many locations housing a number of heritage structures.

With beautifying Mumbai being their primary objective, the BMC''s move has sent a shiver down the spines of hoarding owners, as they anticipate a huge impact on their business from these new directives. In protest against the BMC''s move, many of the hoarding owners have initiated a billboard-based ''information campaign'' which warning people of the potential "dangers" of re-sizing and pulling down hoardings from several parts of the city.

The hoarding owners'' body says that it pays the BMC Rs60 crore in taxes, and has raised the spectre of citizens having to pay higher taxes to offset the revenue losses incurred by the corporation once this beautification drive is initiated.

According to Nabendu Bhattacharya, country head, Landscapes and Signscapes, Ogilvy Activation, "the BMC wants to re-write the by-laws because its'' primary objective is the beatification of Mumbai. It also wants to regularise the hoardings business. The hoarding owners are alarmed because they think if the size of the billboards is reduced, then the rates they charge may also come down". Bhattacharya believes that just the reverse would happen, with the rates going up rather than down.

According to industry sources, there is no fixed tariff for hoardings in Mumbai, which is derived basis the understanding and negotiation skills of the hoarding owner and the client.

Tariffs for the most premium stretch in Mumbai, from Haji Ali to Mahim Causeway, range from Rs7 lakh to Rs12 lakh a month, with the average size of a billboard being 40 ft by 20 ft. Market dynamics, however, would logically dictate that restrictions on billboards in parts of the city will see hoarding owners charge a premium, since clients will have much lesser choice. Most industry insiders confide that the BMC''s new plans will not really penalise hoarding owners of the city in any manner.

Currently, the entire out-of-home or outdoor advertising business is estimated in around Rs1,300 crore, with almost half of this accruing from billboards. The past two - three years have seen a healthy 20-25 per cent growth in this advertising segment.

Ostensibly, the beautification drive will see the absence of billboards, dubbed as ''eyesores'' by many in the city who wish to cherish the sight of non-commercialised heritage buildings, from places like Colaba, Marine Drive, and Peddar Road, in south Mumbai.

Rates of billboard space near these areas are likely to see an upswing of an estimated 15 perc ent to 20 per cent. Most of the hoardings business is concentrated around the suburbs, which pretty much insulates their business from the BMC''s plans.

Ashok Leyland ties-up with Nissan to make commercial vehicles
India''s second largest truck and bus manufacturer, Ashok Leyland Ltd, has partnered Nissan Motor Co, to jointly make light commercial vehicles (LCVs).

The partnership would see the formation of three ventures for vehicle manufacture, power-train manufacturing, and technology development.

Ashok Leyland will hold the majority stake in the vehicle manufacturing venture, which will have an annual production capacity of over 100,000 units in India.

Campaign launch in India
British trade magazine for the advertising industry, Campaign ''is scheduled to be launched in India next month, to tap India''s media markets.

Campaign is a fortnightly publication, and initially will have a controlled circulation of 17,000, with an annual subscriptions at Rs2,500 being marketed simultaneously.

Campaign is one of four planned magazine launches in India by Lord Heseltine''s Haymarket Media Group. The group publishes four titles through a local joint venture, including What Car? and Autocar.

Campaign in India will be staffed locally and edited by Anant Rangaswamy, a former vice president of TBWA India.

Campaign''s arrival in India coincides with the growth of advertising in India, which is growing at about 20 per cent annually, as compared with about 3 per cent in Europe. The growth of the economy has boosted spending in India, where 250 million people constituting the consuming classes are exposed increasingly to newer brands of consumer and lifestyle products.

Globus appoints Kareena Kapoor its new brand ambassador
Fashion and accessories retail chain Globus has appointed actress-model Kareena Kapoor its new brand ambassador.

The company plans to leverage the actress''s wide appeal with its target market to establish Globus in the smaller retail private label business, as is characterised by its recent change in strategy.

Kapoor plans to launch her own line of clothing in September. Globus, which has 19 stores across India, plans to expand to 150 stores in 70 cities over the next five years, by launching smaller stores under its private label.

Domino''s effect: Dine-ins join delivery stores
New Delhi:
The Pizza Delivery Experts, as the company prefers to call itself, is now foraying into waiting tables.

Deviating from its global practice of pizza delivery, Domnio''s has begun opening stores, which offer dine-in services as well.

According to CEO Ajay Kaul, consumer feedback is the primary reason for this departure from convention. Indian consumers, especially in smaller towns, prefer to go out and eat instead of ordering, which has driven the company to offer a dine-in service as well in the interest of business. Of the last 50 stores that Domino''s has opened, most are dine-ins.

Domino''s expects a large 45 per cent slice of the Rs500 crore organised pizza market by the end of this fiscal. It also foresees a net profit of about 5 per cent of the top line.

Currently Domino''s has 156 outlets in India. The company is investing in new stores and setting up Central Kitchens to make pizza dough across various locations.

Through a mammoth expansion, Domino''s plans to set up 500 outlets across India by 2010-11, at an investment of Rs350 crore.

60 new Domino''s outlets would mushroom by March 2008, with another 70 being added by 2009, and eventually growing at a total of 350 new outlets by 2010-11.

Each Domino''s store is owned and maintained by the company, with no franchisees. By the turn of the decade, Domino''s is eyeing the Rs1,000-crore turnover.

Domino''s recently replaced the huge success of Paresh Rawal as its brand ambassador with the younger Arshad Warsi. On its'' tag line of "30 minutes or free", CEO Kaul said about 1 per cent of all pizzas sold in India by Domino''s are given away free. If the chain''s claims of selling 1.1 million pizzas a month is to be believed, that would mean sales in excess of 30,000 pizzas a day, and around 300 free pizzas every day!

With other fast-food chains such as Subway pegging their wares on the health plank, Domnio''s remains unfazed. Kaul does not foresee Domino''s using the health platform in the near future, and says that the pizza chain''s products are completely trans-fat free.

Domino''s has about 30 per cent localised, or ''Indianised'', offerings on its menu presently, and according to CEO Kaul, is constantly evaluating Indian options.

Fortis Healthcare to build 7-star medicity in Gurgoan
New Delhi:
Ranbaxy promoter group company Fortis Healthcare announced plans to invest Rs800 crore for setting up seven-star medicity in Gurgaon.

Spread over 10.7 acres, the 950-bed medicity''s construction is to start by the end of this month. The first phase will see the medicity have a capacity of 350 beds, and is slated for completion in a two or three year timeline.

According to Fortis CEO and managing director Shivinder Mohan Singh, "Fortis International Institute of Medical Sciences is going to be our flagship hospital and it will contribute significantly in setting new standards of healthcare delivery in the country."

IRCTC in a pact with Indian Railways for weekend packages
The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Ltd (IRCTC) plans to optimise resources to cater to the needs of the budget traveller, by using unused train coaches.

According to Deepak Chhabra, additional divisional railway manager, Bangalore division, South Western Railway, coaches have been offered to IRCTC for use as part of weekend packages.

"Outbound packages'' to popular destinations such as Shirdi, Goa and Hampi are planned ex-Bangalore shortly, and a similar arrangement with IRCTC-Bhubaneswar is also in the offing to attract inward tourists to Bangalore, Mysore, Hassan, Coorg and Ooty from Bhubaneswar, says B S Kiran, deputy general manager, IRCTC.

A typical four-day-five-night, end-to-end package that would cover the Bangalore-Mysore-Ooty / Coorg route would cost a traveller about Rs5,700, excluding train fare between Bhubaneswar and Bangalore.

The outbound packages are planned for launch in October, with bookings likely to start in about a week.

Similar tie-ups for inward packages from Mumbai and Chennai are still in the work in progress stage.

Managed advertising services at the Hyderabad airport soon
GMR Hyderabad International Airport Ltd (GHIAL), a subsidiary of GMR Infrastructure, has awarded an advertisement services management contract to Laqshya Media Pvt Ltd.

For the pre-operation term, Laqshya will come up with the master plan on in-terminal advertising and outdoor advertising, including concept designs, themes and location planning for advertising at the airport.

Laqshya will operate, manage and maintain the advertisements by offering ad-sites at the airport to prospective clients for placing their advertisements, as per the information given by GMR Infra to the BSE.

Samsung India to start CTV and TFT monitor production from Chennai plant soon
Consumer electronics major Samsung India Electronics Pvt Ltd will shortly commission its Sriperumbudur plant near Chennai.

The $24-million plant has a capacity to make 1.5-million colour television sets and 1 million thin film transistor (TFT) monitors.

The $1.05-billion turnover company''s first plant in southern India is built on a 50-acre plot in the SIPCOT Sriperumbudur Industrial Park.

Addressing the media here on Monday, Ravinder Zutshi, managing director, Samsung India, said, "The total outlay for the project is $100 million and the remaining amount will be spent by the year 2010."

While the new plant will mainly cater to Samsung India''s domestic market, some portion of the production may also be exported at a later stage, Zutshi adds. Presently the company exports consumer durables like colour televisions, refrigerators, washing machines and monitors from its Noida plant.

The company has a target of $1.3-billion turnover this year and Zutshi says that performance till date is in line with the target with the company has been logging double-digit growth in all the major product segments.

Zutshi says that during the six-month period January-June 2007 the company''s market share was 22 per cent in the flat television category, 43 per cent in LCDs and 31.7 per cent in the plasma range. Samsung India ranks number one in the LCD and plasma segments and number two in the flat television market.

Recently the company had launched seven new models of flat and slim television sets.

In the frost-free refrigerator segment, Samsung India had a market share of 23 per cent of the total 74.7-million units sold in the country and 10.2 per cent out of 1.7 million direct-cool refrigerator units sold. Zutshi adds that the company''s market share during the first six months of the current year in the microwave oven segment is 19 per cent, in washing machines 16.2 per cent and in the air conditioner market 17 per cent.

The company is studying the market feasibility for importing the commercial air conditioners.

Sponsoring the World Cyber Games 2007, Samsung India has announced special rates on select liquid crystal display (LCD) monitor models that are most suitable for playing games.

The 17" and 19" LCD Myst model is being offered at Rs10,200 and Rs16,200 against a comparative price of Rs14,000 and Rs.21,000 respectively.

The 19" and 22" LCD Mendel models are priced at Rs16,500 and Rs.21,000 as against comparative prices of Rs.21,000 and Rs.27,000 respectively. The 19" Mobius is now offered at Rs21,000 as against Rs27,000.

However, Samsung India''s proposed special economic zone (SEZ) unit to be located in the Sriperumbudur Hi-Tech SEZ seems to be taking time to materialise. The company had earlier stated that the SEZ unit to be built on the 30-acre plot would make computer monitors, printers and other IT products.

HCL Infosystems to target corporates and educational institutions for IT training
Computer hardware manufacturer HCL Infosystems Limited has decided to focus on bulk customer segments viz., corporates and educational institutions to expand its information technology (IT) training wing.

It may be recalled the Rs11,648 crore turnover company entered the lucrative IT education line a year ago and focused on the retail segment with its 30 centres branded HCL Career Development Centres (HCL CDC). Located in major Indian cities, the centre offers full and part time industry related courses in software and networking.

"The corporate/enterprise and the educational institutional segments are new to us," says S T M Eswar, head, HCL, Education. "The modalities of targeting them are being worked out."

Meanwhile, the company is planning to add 70 more centres across the country taking the total number of HCL CDCs to 100. According to Eswar, the company is more in favour taking the franchisee route for expansion than through its own centres.

"A franchisee will have to invest around Rs25 lakh - Rs50 lakh to start a centre. Nearly 80 per cent of our centres would be franchisee owned. However the faculty is from the HCL group companies," he said. Out of the existing 30 centres, HCL Infosystems owns just six.

The HCL CDC courses are priced starting from Rs10,000 and goes up to Rs56,000.

Interestingly HCL Infosystems is not looking at rapid expansion of its IT education centres. "We are capping the number of centres at 100. We will increase the depth of courses," says Eswar.

One main reason for capping the number of centres is that the teaching faculty at the centers is from the HCL group. It would be difficult to find faculty members in house as each centre would require around 5 trainers.

Queried about the placement Eswar says, the company does not give any assured placement. Group company HCL Technologies Limited meets its requirements for new recruits from these centres.

Amul launches chocolate milk
With a view to expand its product offering and consolidate its position in the beverages market, billion-dollar brand Amul has launched chocolate milk, christened ''Amul Kool Koko''. The product is made from pure milk, with the addition of cocoa solids, and has a target market of teenagers and the youth.

Priced at Rs15 for 200ml, the beverage is available in a bottle or a tetra pack of the size, along with a 250ml can, which comes for Rs20, and a one-litre tetra pack for Rs50.

Over the past couple of months, Amul has introduced a slew of milk-based drinks, in its bid to emerge as the single-largest entity in the beverages market. Amul Koko is the latest addition to its beverage offering, which comprises flavoured milk Amul Kool, low-calorie drink Masti Butter Milk, ready-to-drink coffee Kool Café, and India''s first sports drink, Stamina.

Summing up its offering, the Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation Ltd (GCMMF) is now the leading player in the Indian dairy beverages market, having secured a staggering 90-per cent market share in the branded packaged dairy drinks segment.

The milk-based market has been showing a double-digit growth. The Indian soft drink market is worth about Rs7,000 annually. Carbonated soft drinks account for 85 per cent of the total soft drink market, but the segment has seen its growth stagnate or even decline in the last few years.

Elder Healthcare looking to introduce more personal hygiene, lifestyle health care products
Elder Healthcare Ltd, part of the Rs 500-crore Elder group of companies, reportedly has plans in the offing to enhance its offering in the personal hygiene, pain relief and preventive lifestyle-related ailment segments.

The company plans to introduce 10 to 12 additional products in the grooming and OTC pharma segments in about a years'' time.

Elder Healthcare is planning to introduce a muscle rub via a brand extension of the existing pain relief balm brand Tiger, a mouth freshener via a brand extension of its oral care brand AM PM (mouth wash), and a medicated shampoo under the brand name Foltene which will address hair loss and rejuvenation. The company has not ruled out the possibility of marketing tie-ups with international brands in these categories.

The company at present has products such as Tiger Balm (under licence from a Singaporean company, Haw Par Healthcare), AMPM mouth wash, Burn Aid (under licence from Rye Pharma of Australia) the Blistex range of lip care products, lozenges under the brand name Solo and fairness cream and soaps under the brand name Fair One.

Elder healthcare saw a turnover of Rs46 crores last year, and expects it to double this year. The company is likely to spend close to Rs2.5 crore in promoting its latest cream, Fair One Man, which has been introduced in the northern markets. The Rs300-crore men''s fairness cream market has two other players, HLL and Emami, and is reported to be growing at 100 per cent annually.

Hyundai ramping up its dealership network
New Delhi:
With Hyundai Motor India Ltd. expecting its second plant expected to go into operation soon, the company is now looking to speedily ramp up its dealer network to push sales for the increased production.

HMIL reportedly had 167 dealers in January 2007, and plans to expand its network to 250 by December.

New dealerships are likely to follow the proven format, with sales, services and spares facilities housed together.

The company has been witnessing rather flat sales over the past few months, though it has a healthy stable of cars, which include the Getz, the Santro, and the Verna.

The lacklustre sales are reportedly attributed by the company to production capacity constraints, as a result of which domestic sales suffered, and even export orders saw some backlogs.

To reverse this trend, the company has worked at doubling its production capacity through the second plant, which is scheduled to go into operation soon, and plans to reach out to customers via its enhanced dealership network to facilitate sales and service.

The new plant is likely to be commissioned at Sriperumbudur by year end. It is adjacent to existing facilities, and will double production capacity to 600,000 units from the current 300,000. The new plant will help Hyundai better meet customer demands. HMIL plans to export 40 per cent of its total production to Latin America, Europe and West Asia.

TVS Motor Co to focus on retail expansion
: With sales heading south for most players in the domestic two-wheeler industry, TVS Motor Co. is now planning for an aggressive focus on sales.

The company has drawn up plans to expand its existing chain of 1,500 service stations and 550 dealers, to a combined new total of 3,000 retail outlets in a span of three years.

Some of the existing chain of service stations will see an evolution into retail outlets as well.

Each of these planned outlets will have a sales point to help generate additional sales, and an additional lot of 1,000 new dealerships will form part of a chain of new dealerships, better covering the domestic market.

According to media reports, TVS expects motorcycle sales to touch 90,000 units by October-end. It sold 44,392 units in July.

Globus launching small stores to build private label biz
The Rajan Raheja-promoted Globus Stores Private Limited is seeking to move away from a multi-branded retail chain format, and instead implement its new strategy of becoming a single store label brand.

In a new strategy, Globus plans to launch smaller stores under its private label.

With 90 per cent of its present merchandise already under the Globus brand, the company now plans to convert the balance into its private label brand as well, with Globus being the mother brand, according to Vinay Nadkarni, CEO, Globus Stores Pvt Ltd.

For its single brand strategy, Globus plans to undertake a brand build exercise by roping in actress Kareena Kapoor as its brand ambassador.

According to Akshay Raheja, vice-chairman,Globus Stores, "There are higher margins in private labels, but at the same time it is a harder model for retailers. It is going to take additional effort to build the private label business, but that is the new business strategy we have decided for our stores."

With designing as its USP, Globus plans to rely on its design studio to create new fashions which target youth between 18 and 30.

Globus has decided to create smaller format stores, especially in the malls which are mushrooming across the country. The company plans to have smaller stores with an average floor space of 10,000 sq ft., and wants to position itself as an ''affordably priced fashion brand''.

Globus plans to invest Rs800 crore in the opening of new stores. It intends raising money for the endeavour via internal accruals, combined with a portion of debt and equity. The company is not looking at a public issue.
The company plans to allocate around 6 per cent of its turnover towards advertising spends, with Kareena Kapoor replacing actress Soha Ali Khan as the face of its brand.

Moscow air show rings in deals with $3 billion
Organisers of the Moscow International air show have claimed that the event generated over $3 billion in contracts, which is triple the amount of business generated at the last show. That is, however, way lower than the western air shows that Russia has modelled the show after. The show opened last Monday and closed last Sunday.

Russia hopes the air show to eventually will grow into a force to recon with as an industry showcase event, similar to Britain''s Farnborough air show and France''s Paris air show at Le Bourget. However, it still has a long way to go, since this year''s Paris air show saw Airbus alone signing contracts worth $88 billion.

The United Aircraft Corporation (UAC), an umbrella organisation for Russia''s plane makers, signed some $1.5 billion in contracts at the Moscow International air show. Deals made by other manufacturers would take the tally up to around $3 billion, according to news agencies.

The 2005 edition of the biennial show brought about a billion dollars in contracts.

Russia''s military aviation sector remains strong, with military-related contracts totalling around $400 million. State arms trader Rosoboronexport said nearly 800 companies from about 100 countries participated in the biannual show, up from 70 two years ago. The largest foreign delegations came from China, Latin America and the Arab countries.

However, the civil aviation market saw little action, dashing most of Russia''s hopes for developing its presence in the regional jet segment with the Sukhoi Superjet 100, which has a seating capacity of 75 to 95 passengers. It has Boeing amongst its subcontractors, but reportedly got no new orders during the show. Sukhoi and the Italian company Alenia Aeronatica signed a joint-venture agreement to sell and service the planes.

A major limitation for the growth of Russia''s aviation market is the older-design Russian airliners, which do not conform to Western standards for noise and emissions. Hence, it''s no surprise that one of the larger deals of this year''s air show was the purchase of four Boeing 737s by Atlant-Soyuz, an airline controlled by the Moscow city government.

Other deals announced during the show included an agreement signed by Boeing and Russia''s VSMPO-Avisma, to create a joint venture to make titanium forgings to be used in the production of Boeing''s 787 Dreamliner.

Undeterred by the Sukhoi regional jet disappointment, Russia plans to spend about $250 billion to build about 4,500 civilian aircraft by 2025.

As is usual for an event of its size, media reported plenty of glitches, including inadequate toilet facilities and long traffic jams.

The next Moscow International Aerospace Show (MAKS) will also be organised at the Zhukovsky air base near Moscow, from 18 August to 23 August 2009, according to Boris Alyoshin, the director of the Russian Federal Agency for Industries.

"The government is considering setting up a transport and exhibition compound at Zhukovsky," Alyoshin said. Refuting rumours that a new show will replace MAKS in two years'' time, he said MAKS will be held on even years and an exhibition on ground forces during odd years.

Government-controlled weapons exporting company Rosoboronexport, in the meanwhile, is bidding for the contract to run MAKS 2009. Rosoboronexport''s Director General, Sergei Chemezov, said his company has enough experience to run the MAKS shows, which are essential for supporting Russia''s image as a major power in aviation and space research.

Maruti plans to launch a competitor to the Honda Civic
New Delhi:
After taking initial steps to compete with the runaway success of Honday City through its latest sedan SX4, Maruti Udyog, the country''s largest car company is planning to launch an even bigger car by 2009-10, which will take on the likes of the Honda Civic.

Moreover, after almost a decade and a half, the company will drive into the sunset one of its oldest and most successful models, the Esteem. The entry level sedan will be replaced by a sedan version of the runaway success ''Swift'', sometime next year.

According to sources, MUL has sounded its vendors to gear up to supply components for its big car project. MUL is also scheduled to launch a new compact car in 2009 that would mainly cater to the European market, but plans are afoot for its launch it in the domestic market as well.

According to industry sources, the ''big car'' from MUL''s stable will compete with cars in the A4 segment, which comprises the likes of Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla and Skoda Octavia Rider which come in a price bracket of Rs10-12 lakh.

MUL''s plan to go to the next level is buoyed by the success of its latest offering, the SX4 sedan, which has successfully made a dent in the segment that was led by Honda''s City. The big car foray is also in step with global plans of Maruti''s parent company, Suzuki Motor Corp, which is seeking an image makeover from a successful small car maker to a car company with competence in bigger cars as well.

After 13 years of the launch of the Esteem, MUL has decided it is time to bring the curtains down on the Esteem. The new Swift sedan, which is expected in replacement is likely to have both petrol and diesel engine variants, in keeping with MUL''s diesel strategy.

Esteem owners can rest easy, as the company would continue to provide service support the model, as it had done in the past with other models that have been phased out.

Wine industry growth predicted at 25-30 per cent by 2010
New Delhi:
Domestic wine consumption is slated to hit the nine million litres mark by 2010, displaying growth at a CAGR of about 22 per cent per annum.

According to ASSOCHAM president Venugopal Dhoot, ''''India''s wine market is currently equivalent to around 200 people sharing one bottle, but it is likely to grow at a projected CAGR of 22 per cent over the next three years, in view of rising consumption patterns of wine not only among youngsters but equally so in senior aged group.''''

80 per cent of the demand for wine originates in major cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Pune and Bangalore. Present consumption tallies at around the five million litres mark.

Western India accounts for 41 per cent of the country''s wine consumption, followed by the North at 29 per cent, according to industry body ASSOCHAM''s paper titled Wine : Bearing Fruit in India. About 63 per cent of the volume sales of wine are through off-trade channel, ie in five-star hotels, pubs and bar-restaurants, the study states.

A large teeming population under 30 years old is one of the major factors contributing to wine consumption. Estimates suggest that around 650 million tipplers will go through an attitudinal shift in their alcohol consumption, developing a penchant for wine.

Another significant contributing factor is the rising disposable income among consumers, implying ies that a larger chunk of the population will be able to afford such products. Also, the influences of western culture are pushing Indian youth to adapt their lifestyle and standards of living to more global levels.

Recent measures adopted by the government, which are aimed at diverting the population off stronger and more harmful drinks like spirits, have significantly aided the growth of the wine industry.

Numerous state governments have reduced duties on wine, eased restrictions on distribution, and allowed wine to be sold in supermarkets. On the industry side, they have provided incentives for wineries to establish new facilities, according to the ASSOCHAM study.

The cost for setting up a wine plant in the country with capacity of around a lakh litres comes an affordable Rs1-1.5 crore mark. This has seen many entrepreneurs, both Indian and foreign, jump at the opportunity.

These ''favourable'' conditions for winemakers have seen the likes of top drink makers Diageo, Pernod Ricard, LVMH''s Moet Hennessey and SABMiller enter India. Other companies like Anheuser-Busch Co Inc., and the Danish brewer, Carlsberg are also on their way.

DaimlerChrysler introduces premium Mercedes-Benz CL-Class at Chandigarh
New Delhi:
DaimlerChrysler India yesterday presented the premium Mercedes-Benz CL-Class for the Indian market at the Brand Showcase in Chandigarh.

Dr Wilfried Aulbur managing director and CEO, DaimlerChrysler India, unveiled the car.

Brand Showcase featured the complete range of Mercedes-Benz cars in India that included the debutante CL-Class, the S 320 CDI as well as the locally built S-Class, E-Class, the C-Class, and the completely built imported range - the SLK-Class, CLS-Class and the M-Class.

"The idea of the Brand Showcase is to share our enthusiasm about growth and direction of the company and to interact with our friends, customers and media in their home-cities," said Dr Aulbur. "We are committed to offer our customers the latest products in the least possible time. A very good example of this is our introduction of the new luxury Coupé, the CL-Class, this year."

DaimlerChrysler India, which is the only automobile company in India to have completed ISO 9001: 2000 certification for its entire dealer network, reported a sales growth of 22 percent in the first seven months of 2007. The company had recently announced a retail finance scheme, Star Choice, for Mercedes-Benz cars in collaboration with ICICI Bank.

Sanjiv Sahajwala, director, marketing and sales, DaimlerChrysler India said that the demand for Mercedes cars had been increasing in non-metro cities

"Over the last few years, we are attracting younger customers in India: young entrepreneurs, IT professionals and successful businessmen are increasingly fascinated by the Mercedes-Benz brand," Sahajwala said.

Today''s Writing Products plans doubling capacity at its Dadra plant
New Delhi:
With a view to increase its presence and market share, Today''s Writing Products Ltd (TWPL) announced plans to double capacity at its pen manufacturing unit at Dadra, at a cost of Rs37 crore. The company is also actively looking at acquisitions in Western Europe and America.

Presently, the plant has a capacity to manufacture two million pens per day. Post expansion, this would increase to four million pieces per day.

The company wants to increase its market share in the domestic pen market. Currently, it has a seven per cent share, and would like to see it go upto 10 per cent, by leveraging the increased capacity. The capacity augmentation will also increase it export shares.

The company''s subsidiary, Today''s Petrotech Ltd (TPL) has tied up with with ITT Corp in an agreement which will see TPL set up a manufacturing facility along with ITT in Gujarat, which will see it incur at an initial investment of Rs30 crore.

The Vadodara facility is being set up for the Fluid Technology group of ITT Corp, and will be an integral part of ITT''s plans to enter into the Indian market. TPL will also distribute all products manufactured and imported by ITT India for the process industry.

Star TV enters into a distribution pact with Times Now, Zoom
Rupert Murdoch''s Star Group (Star) has announced a distribution arrangement with TV channels Times Now and Zoom.

Times Now is an English news channel, and Zoom is a lifestyle and entertainment channel, both belonging to one of India''s largest media organisations, The Bennet, Coleman & Co. Ltd., publisher of leading newspapers The Times of India, and The Economic Times, among others.

Times Now and Zoom are well-recognised, strong brands in India, both having witnessed strong recognition since their launch in India.

Under the agreement, Star will represent Times Now and Zoom in building subscription revenues for analog cable, DTH and other digital delivery systems.

Zoom''s primary viewers are the urban and upscale audiences, who look at its unique offering of glamour and Bollywood news. Times Now and Zoom will remain free-to-air in the current CAS markets.

MTNL offering ISD calls at Re 1/minute via VOIP services
New Delhi:
Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd, tagged the ''lifeline of Delhi and Mumbai'' has launched Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) based telephone services, which will enable MTNL''s broadband subscribers to call international long distance to the US, the UK, Canada and Australia at Re1 a minute.

What''s more, customers would be able to make these ISD calls via a fixed line telephone, without a PC.

Commercial launch of VoIP services, branded as ''Netfone'', were launched by the company on Friday. Post this launch, an MTNL fixed line customer can avail four different services on a single connection - conventional telephonhy, broadband internet, VoIP phone, and IPTV - all simultaneously.

MTNL has partnered with Aksh Optifibre Ltd for the VoIP service. The company has installed a capacity of 50,000 VoIP subscribers, and is looking at 10,000 connections for this financial year, to be followed up with another 50,000 connections in the subsequent year.

VoIP services will be available to all MTNL PCO holders as well, and will be launched initially on a prepaid basis, using which subscribers can make calls to about 150 countries.

To avail of this service, subscribers will need to pay a non-refundable registration and installation charge of Rs500, a refundable security deposit of Rs1,000, and a quarterly rental of Rs243.

The prepaid cards will be available in the denominations of Rs100, Rs500 and Rs1,000, with their validity ranging from three months, six months and 12 months, respectively, with full talk value.

Acer India launches Aspire 4310 and 4710 laptops
Acer India has announced the launch of its Aspire 4310 and Aspire 4710 series in the Indian market.

The Aspire 4310 series uses a Celeron M 520 processor, with 512-MB RAM, an 80-GB hard drive and a widescreen display. With a LINUX operating system and Combo DVD drive, the notebook is priced at a well affordable Rs20,999.

A variant in this series with a 0.3-Mega-Pixel camera will be hit the market at Rs24,499.

The Aspire 4710 series comes with an Intel CoreTM2 Duo mobile processor T5500, 1- GB RAM, and a 160-GB hard-disk drive. This too comes with the LINUX operating system, and with Bluetooth is priced at Rs39,499.

A variant of is the Aspire 4710z, which uses the Pentium dual core processor T 2080, 1-GB RAM, and an inbuilt camera and 160-GB hard disk drive.

Indian businessman to launch an airline in the UAE
An Indian businessman is all set to launch an airline out of the UAE.
Kang Pacific Airlines, as the airline will be called, is the fifth to be based in the UAE.

Indian businessman Paul Kang earlier owned companies with businesses in aviation catering, and the supply of goods to duty free shops in the UK and Fujairah.

The airline plans to launch commercial service out of Fujairah in October, tapping growing demand for air services to certain specific destinations.

Kang is reportedly self-financing the airline launch, with $10 million in start-up capital. This will be used to on lease two DC-10s, a Boeing 747 and a Boeing 737 over the next six months.

Initially, services will commence to the Philippines, Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka, and later will include flights to the UK. The airline''s model will be that of a hybrid between a budget and a full service carrier.

The venture is a fructification of a two-year feasibility study conducted by a professor at Cranfield University, who is also a partner in the venture.

Mitsubishi Motors launches Galant Fortis 1, a Lancer update
Mitsubishi Motors Corporation announces the market launch of the Galant Fortis 1, known as the Lancer in some markets including India, a new style sedan, at affiliated dealerships throughout Japan.

Powered by a 2.0-liter engine, two- and four-wheel drive Galant Fortis models carry a price tag ranging from ¥1,785,000 to ¥2,436,000. (Rs6.24 lakh to Rs8.52 lakh / $15,200 to$20,800)

Galant Fortis is the first new sedan introduced by the company in Japan in seven years and has been developed to a product concept that called for "a global sporty sedan that delivers high and well-balanced levels of safety, comfort and environmental performance."

India is now Nokia''s No. 2 market for handsets, moves ahead of the US
New Delhi:
Reeling under the battery recall fiasco, Finnish telecom major Nokia has some good news after a long time for India. On a three day visit to India, CEO Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo announced that India is the second-largest market for the company, in terms of handset sales.

China continues to be the largest market for Nokia, but this news puts India ahead of the US and the UK,

In 2005, India was ranked fourth, and third in 2006, in terms of sales. The quarter ended June 2007 has seen India rise second place.

China has the highest number of mobile users, at 477.3 million, followed by the US at 242.8 million, as of May 2007.

Of the 185 million mobile phone users in India, about 85 million prefer to use Nokia handsets. The global base for Nokia is 900 million.

CDMA operators favour number portability
New Delhi:
Though the government is yet to act on TRAI''s year-old recommendations for the framing of a policy on number portability in mobile phone services, the code division multiple access (CDMA) operators seem to have come around to somewhat of a consensus and have stressed on a need for it.

Number portability enables customers to switch service providers, without having to change their mobile telephone number. Number portability is largely viewed as an important and effective tool to ensure competition in the telecom market, as it provides for the customer being able to select their service provider, without impacting themselves with the usual communication issues brought on by the change of a mobile phone number.

A letter to communications minister A Raja, with the CDMA service providers being represented by the Association of Unified Service Providers of India (AUSPI), is learnt to urge the Department of Telecom (DoT) to issue necessary guidelines for implementing mobile number portability.

CDMA players have been favouring number portability across both fixed line and mobile networks. Breaking their agenda into two, more-manageable parts, they now seem be focused on pursuing the latter as a more achievable aim in the time being.

AUSPI secretary general SC Khanna, in his letter to the communications minister has advocated this by saying that in case fixed-number portability cannot be implemented at this point of time for whatever reason, mobile number portability should be dealt with independent of fixed line mobility.

Global system for mobile communications (GSM) service providers, who are represented by the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), are presently opposed to the idea of number portability in mobile telephony, and would like to see a further maturing of the telecom market before customers are allowed to take their phone numbers with them.

CDMA operators include Reliance Communications and Tata Teleservices. GSM operators comprise Bharti, Vodafone Essar, Idea, Aircel, and Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd.

Aditya Birla to foray into hypermarket retail in about 5 months
The Aditya Birla Group could unveil its hypermarket format in about five months, with the first most probably spring up in Vadodara, according to sources. The company has been working on this format for some time, and is reported to have made considerable progress.

According to industry sources, the group has signed a lease agreement for a hypermarket in Vadodara. The store would measure between 80,000 and 90,000 sq ft., and would be operational by end January 2008.

Mukesh Ambani''s Reliance Retail recently launched the country''s largest hypermarket measuring 165,000 sq ft in Ahmedabad.

The Gujarat market seems to be the preferred launch pad among organised retail players, mainly because it is a very tough market for a company to operate in, on account of consumer behaviour, preferences and spending patterns, which are crucial to a hypermarket''s success. Tackling the toughest state first, retail players tend to use the learning curve from their Gujarat launch to ensure smoother rollout experiences in other parts of the country.

In June 2007, the unlisted Aditya Birla Retail commenced business with the launch of its supermarket format under the brand, "More". At present, the company has 14 more supermarkets in operation in Pune, and is reportedly scouting for locations for both the supermarket and hypermarket formats in other parts of the country.

Previously, Aditya Birla Retail had acquired Trinethra, the 172-odd-store-strong Hyderabad-based supermarket retail chain.

The proliferation of Chinese food: Yo! China plans expansion via different formats
Yo! China, the Chinese food restaurant chain, hopes to expand its business via different formats. Co-founder and managing director Ashish Kapur is looking to make the company a Rs100-crore business in about a year, and is banking on different fast food vending formats such as kiosks, dine-ins at malls, outlets in tech parks, international airports and railway stations to fuel their growth plans. The vision for the company, as outlined by the managing director, is to evolve the business to a Rs1,000 crore Chinese food company.

The company says its key differentiators are its trendy appeal, international packaging, and affordable price points, with entry-level pricing of items at Rs25 on its menu.

The company wants to open 200 outlets across the country by 2009. Presently, it runs 27 outlets across 15 cities, with plans for 30 more by the end of this financial year.

The booming mall culture, specially in non-tier-1 cities, shows promising growth potential which Yo! China would like to capitalise on. The chain recently opened four outlets in Bangalore, and has another three in the offing there. It is also actively looking at Chennai, where three outlets are planned for the next few months, Mr Kapur said.

November 2006 saw Yo! China receive Rs25-crore in venture capital (VC) funding from VC firm Matrix Partners India. Yo! China''s same-store sales have seen 12 per cent growth year-on-year growth. The restaurant chain has won bids for running outlets at the international airport in Mumbai, and the domestic and international airports in Delhi.

Akshaye Khanna brand ambassador for Dinesh Mills
Bollywood actor Akshaye Khanna will soon be seen endorsing the suiting brands for Dinesh Mills Ltd.

The actor signed up as the brand ambassador for the company, for a period of two-and-a-half years. Other than films and media, Dinesh Mills would also be extensively using their new brand ambassador in below-the-line activities such as posters and other promotional material.

70-year old Dinesh Mills has a turnover of around Rs150 crore, and has a product line up comprising worsted suiting and blends, with exports to several European countries.

UP Government throws out organised retail: Reliance Fresh, Spencer''s told to shut shop in UP
New Delhi:
In a regressive move guaranteed to dampen retail plans of organised retail corporations, the Uttar Pradesh Government has ordered the closure of modern organised retail chains in Lucknow and Varanasi, while setting up a five-member committee led by cabinet secretary Shashank Shekhar Singh to review all aspects governing such outlets.

The UP government''s reaction was triggered by an attack by a group of traders on Reliance Fresh and Spencer''s retail stores in Lucknow, fuelled by reports of similar incidents at outlets in Varanasi.

The closure of the two stores has been ordered in Lucknow and Varanasi, ostensibly in the light of the prevailing law and order, basis concerns raised by the district administration.

A decision on the eventual fate of large-format retail stores across the rest of the State will be once the five-member Committee submits its report. The committee would include Principal Secretaries of housing, home, agriculture and health as members, and would also look into the law and order, health, sanitation and location aspects of the existing and proposed retail stores.

TCL India to launch small home appliances
TCL India Holdings Pvt Ltd (TCL) is aiming to expand its product range by the inclusion of small home appliances.

The company announced a new brand strategy, tagged ''the creative life'', outlining its hopes to grow its business by 30 per cent this year. Last year, its turnover was Rs325 crore.

Warren Wang, managing director, TCL India Holdings, told a press conference that the creative life, which stands for creativity that invigorates life, means that the company will work on consumer perception, and recommend unique and specially designed products that offer the user value.

The company presently spends about seven per cent of its annual turnover on market promotion activities, and has a product range spanning colour televisions, air-conditioners, washing machines and DVD players.

TCL is undertaking market studies to evaluate the feasibility of expanding this range with small home appliances such as magnetic induction cookers, microwave ovens and rice cookers.

India accounts for less than one per cent of TCL''s business though it continues to be a ''high potential'' market, and one of the largest for colour televisions. India''s southern States were the company''s strongest markets, but the West and East regions are fast catching up. The company plans to build its network in the North to increase penetration.

Parent company TCL Holdings is a global player, present in over 100 countries, and having a brand valuation of $4.7 billion.

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