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Electronics retail 2010-09-29

Inspiring life via franchise means

By Ramanjit Kaur Feature Writer

With the aim to make life simpler, Haier India came into existence to meet the daily needs of the customers through its wide range of innovative products. In an interview, Eric Braganza, President, Haier India shares the future plans of the company.

Ramanjit Kaur(RK): Could you please shed some light on the origin, growth and success of Haier India?

Eric Braganza (EB): Haier India started its commercial operations in India in January 2004 and is a 100 per cent subsidiary of the Haier Group. The India launch was started with innovative products designed specially keeping the daily needs of the customers in mind. Haier India launched BMR technology for the first time in India followed by the Double Drive which is a newly patented technology. ‘Inspired Living’ Haier’s brand philosophy takes the inspiration from the lifestyle of its customers. Every product is designed and developed innovatively to offer convenience. This year, Haier unveiled a new brand campaign titled ‘You Inspire Us’. The campaign is a tribute to the Indian consumer who has inspired many technological and innovative changes in the products.

RK: What is Haier India all about? What kind of services it offers?

EB: Haier India is all about providing innovative, state of the art, user friendly products of lasting value to our customers. Haier is known for its innovation worldwide and we tend to carry forward the same in India as well. Haier is a young fast moving premium brand that offers a wide range of products, which includes complete range of refrigerators ranging from side-by-side refrigerators to the widely acclaimed and hot-selling BMRs, BMR Plus, Wine Cellars, Empress Series, Amicura range, Mini Bars, frost-free, direct cool and commercial refrigerators, Semi and Fully Automatic Washing Machines, Split and windows Air Conditioners, a wide range of LED and LCD TVs and the Spa range of water heaters.

RK: What inspired Haier India to take the franchise route to expand the business in India?

EB: Haier has a wide range of premium product which has been designed to suit the needs of the Indian customer, it is important to bring the people in proximity with the world class Haier products. Hence, Haier India took the franchise route, so that our customers can stay connected with us and our products. This not only encourages our customers to access our range of products but also experience it in a multi-brand scenario. The customer also gets an opportunity to compare the range of products with that of competitions.

RK: What practices and initiatives have you introduced Haier India?

EB: Haier was the first to introduce Bottom Mount Refrigerators in the Indian market, which in turn went on to become one of the most popular and desired products in the market. This began the revolution in the refrigeration market with Haier launching the widest range of refrigerators to cater to varied consumers needs and preference.

RK: What are the eligibility criteria for selecting the franchisees of your company?

EB: For Haier Experience Centre, the franchisee should be in a strategic location with high footfalls and should be able to sell hi-end products. The franchisee should be willing to partner with the brand and co-operate in branding the store as per the Haier norms. For a shop-in-shop, the franchisee should have a multi brand showroom located in a strategic location with high footfalls, rest of the criteria remain the same.

RK: How many franchised outlets do you presently have in India and across the globe? What are your target locations to expand the brand in India?

EB: In India, Haier currently has 4500 retail outlets across the country. Haier is planning to open approximately 600-700 stores in the next two years. Currently, Haier has 36 Haier Experience Centre/ shop-in-shop and is looking at increasing them to 75 stores by the end of the year. We are currently looking at all metros/ mini metros and branch office cities for this.

RK: What kind of training and support does a franchisee get after partnering with your company?

EB: The dealer and its sales staff are given training on all the features of Haier products. They are also given information about Haier’s service policies through an extensive training session.

RK: Any advice for the young entrepreneurs?

EB: My advice for the young entrepreneurs is to have long term vision and passion for their work. Identify your opportunity and go for it; perseverance and smart work can take you a long way. India is an emerging market with plenty of opportunities for the young entrepreneurs.

RK: What are the future plans of the company in terms of expansion through franchising?

EB: Haier’s future plan in terms of expansion through franchising is to strengthen its network across the country. Haier is already ramping up its expansion plan across India with the opening of its Haier Experience Centres (HEC) and Haier Experience Zones (HEZ) across the country. Haier currently has 65 in its fold and targeting 75 HEC/HEZ by the end of the year.

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