Last weekend there was an interesting news item: A company called Super Plastronics had signed on with French electronic company Thomson to launch its products in India, starting with washing machines. Super Plastronics Pvt Ltd (SPPL) said it would invest Rs 1,000 crore in the next five years to expand its manufacturing capacity. SPPL said it would enter other categories like air conditioners as well.
What was interesting to note was the investment intent of a not well known company, in a cut throat market. Bigger companies like BPL, Onida, Videocon have bitten the dust trying to compete with Korean, Japanese and lately Chinese brands. SPPL already has 3 plants, what it is making to produce for Thomson is the fourth plant.
A little bit of web check reveals that SPPL is perhaps around Rs 250 crore in revenue. This 1997 incorporated company has a paid up capital of around Rs 14 crore. In 2016, SPPL took India rights for making televisions from imaging company Kodak, and starting selling them via Flipkart. Even now Kodak TVs are selling on Flipkart.
What’s interesting is the plethora of international brand names in the TV category on Flipkart & Amazon: Motorola, Nokia, Daiwa, Kodak,Thomson, Blaupunkt, Polaroid, Murphy, Philips, Sharp, Toshiba, Metz, . Many of these are most likely being assembled and sold by licensee companies.This is besides Chinese brands like Haier, Mi, TCL, Realme and Coocaa; and long time peripheral brands like like Akai, JVC, Sansui, Sanyo. Then there are homespun brands like Vu, Adsun, Shinco, Cloudwalker, Onida and BPL. Overall there are 60+ brands out there in television space.
Other durable categories like washing machines also have 30+ categories.
Many of these brands are also likely to be online only brands. Most of them will not be able to afford putting inventory on retail shelves. So many brands to be available suggests attractive market dynamics. It is also possible some of the market reports underestimate the size of the market. Covid reportedly has been beneficial for some segments of the durables markets, particularly televisions.
(photo: Business Standard, via internet)