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Hyundai to wheel in white goods

July 08, 2004 08:30 IST

Move over Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics. Hyundai, better known in India for the cars it rolls out, will be leaping into the Rs 10,000 crore (Rs 100 billion) plus Indian consumer electronics market. Hyundai consumer electronic products are to be marketed by the Rs 4,000 crore (Rs 40 billion) Videocon group, which markets brands like Sansui, Toshiba and Akai.

"Yes, Hyundai is entering the consumer electronics business," an executive who was approached by Hyundai to head the venture, said. Hyundai executives were unavailable for comment, but Videocon group director Raj Kumar Dhoot confirmed that a partnership with Hyundai was in the works, but referred Business Standard to his brother, Pradeep Kumar Dhoot, also a Videocon group director. Pradeep Dhoot said the group had been in talks with Hyundai.

Both LG and Samsung entered the market through an Indian partner. LG first entered India through a tie-up with the Delhi-based Besta Vision and launched its Goldstar brand. Samsung had a joint venture with the Videocon group.

Hyundai will first introduce colour television sets in the market. The company is banking on its brand value as well as the fact that Korean brands have gone down well with Indian consumers.

Also, the Hyundai group has a consumer electronics company called Hyundai ImageQuest and sells plasma TVs, LCD TVs, TFT-LCD monitors, flat monitors and notebooks. It  recorded sales of Korean Wong 423.4 billion (Rs 1,700 crore) in 2003.

A senior executive at a consumer durable multinational points out that Hyundai will not exactly have a smooth drive to the top either -- the dynamics of the business have changed.

According to a report by retail audit firm ORG-GFK, the consumer durables industry grew overall in 2003, the growth having been spearheaded by flat televisions and frost-free refrigerators. But prices are tumbling and manufacturers are getting less revenue.

Competition has also intensified with Chinese consumer electronics player Haier, German company G-Hanz and Japan's Hitachi having leaped into the colour TV market.
Reeba Zachariah in Mumbai