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An audio system for Rs 300,000!

Sangeeta Singh | April 09, 2005

It is not only the world's top car and electronics companies, which have been hit by the emerging market syndrome. The half-a-billion dollar Danish music systems company, Bang & Olufsen has also made an entry to India after tasting success in the Chinese market.

Starting at Rs 300,000 for an audio system, B&O has already launched its range of products in Mumbai and is unveiling these products in Delhi today.

And if Prakash Ramsingh managing director, B&O India, is to be believed B&O's Mumbai outlet at Hyatt Plaza has already received over 300 serious customers since its launch early this week.

These include film stars and corporate chieftains. And the product was endorsed by none other than Vijay Mallya, whose every home, according to the company, is a B&O home.

Jesper Sander Andersen, regional manager, B&O, says even if the company can capture 0.1-0.5 per cent of the population in India, he will be happy.

"The sheer size of the country in terms of population and its growing economy should help us penetrate this market well."

In the Delhi outlet, B&O will showcase its products such as music systems, loudspeakers, television and telephones. But by no means are these aimed at the middle class. Its systems start at euro 1500 and go upto euro 200,000.

B&O launched its vast range of products in Shanghai last year and Andersen says the response has been tremendous.

"B&O tends to draw a parallel between the Indian and Chinese markets and aims to do an annual business of euro 2-3 million from every unit in the two countries," he says.

The company will ensure it gives full-fledged after-sales services to its customers, for which it is putting in place a dedicated team in the same shop.

Ramsingh says that not only will new buyers be serviced, so will existing customers. "Already, we have over 10,000 B&O customers who have purchased these products overseas before it came to India," say Ramsingh.

The servicing will be handled by engineers trained at the headquarters in Denmark and Dubai, its regional centre. "We also have a very communicative website which can get our customers, technicians and regional office on an interactive platform," says Andersen.

The company plans to open 20 outlets in the next five years. It is also looking at some mini metros in northern India. "By next year we plan to have two more stores," says Andersen. Next in line is Bangalore, where B&O plans to start an outlet this financial year.

B&O's entry into India is part of its expansion plan in the Middle East and Central Asia, which started in 2000. Though it is largely present in Scandinavia and Denmark (where it covers 30 per cent of the population), in Germany and UK it covers 1-2 per cent of the population.

B&O extended its wings to the UK and US between 1950 and the 1980s. And Andersen says its aim is to see more and more homes getting converted into B&O homes the world over.

Started in 1925 by two Danish engineers, Peter Bang and Swend Olufsen -- one excelling in design and the other in technical aspects -- the company rose like a phoenix after its factories were reduced to smoke during the Second World War. But its philosophy is to be only in the high-end segment, neither compromising on design nor on technology.

Though the sound quality of B&O products were rarely challenged, its designs have met with criticism from time to time. But the company has over the years introduced innovations and new technology to keep abreast of changing tastes and requirements of the customers.

"We have separate teams doing both and if either of them don't match the other we reject the product," says Andersen.

So, if you are a connoisseur who wants both aesthetics and quality, then B&O may just be the right product for you.

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Number of User Comments: 1

Sub: half a percent is a huge amount

"Jesper Sander Andersen, regional manager, B&O, says even if the company can capture 0.1-0.5 per cent of the population in India, he will be happy." ...

Posted by Nagendra Pratap Singh


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