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Audio Equipment Maker JBL Aims to Grow 200% in India in 2019

The company said it would also focus towards voice-enabled platforms, without revealing much details

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Working Out, headphones
JBL E45 Wireless Headphones.

Enough of Bose, Beats or Sennheiser. Audio equipment maker JBL by HARMAN, owned by South Korean tech major Samsung Electronics, is aiming big to expand its footprint in the Indian audio market that is forecast to grow over 15 per cent in 2019.

JBL forayed into the e-commerce sector in August last year by launching its online store. The company is now working towards expanding its retail presence.

The company’s online brand store sells the entire range of consumer products — from headphones and Bluetooth speakers to home and multimedia solutions.

“We will double up on our revenue and will grow by 200 per cent this year in India,” Sumit Chauhan, Vice President, Lifestyle Audio Division at HARMAN India, told IANS.

“You will see that the audio segment in the category that we deal in — headphones, smart audio and connected homes — is slated to grow somewhere around 12-14 per cent. In India, the market is slightly better, growing at 16 per cent against the global forecast,” he added, quoting market research firm Forrester.

The company is also working towards entering the smaller towns. “There is positive expansion happening in the tier III and IV cities. Whether you take data from online players like Amazon and Flipkart, or from offline players like Croma and Reliance, both will tell you that much of their growth in 2019-20 is expected to come from Tier III and Tier IV cities,” Chauhan noted.

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“We are probably the only brand in India where our business split is 50:50. Most of the other brands are skewed, either towards offline or towards online,” added Chauhan.

As part of its strategy to increase penetration into the Indian market, JBL by HARMAN is also working towards collaborating with sports and music brands.

“Under Armour is the fastest-growing fitness brand and has just been launched in India. We are very closely associated with them at global level and will try and bring that synergy here.

“We have co-branded products which are branded as Under Armour and JBL. We would bring those products into India and market them aggressively,” added Chauhan.

The company said it would also focus towards voice-enabled platforms, without revealing much details.

“We have a close relationship with Google on the Assistant side, with Amazon on the Alexa side and with Microsoft on the Cortana side. This would be a key focus in the future,” Chauhan said. (IANS)

Next Story

India to Set Up “Border Haats” with Myanmar

The Minister said, The success of the "Border Haats" running along the Bangladesh border in Meghalaya and Tripura has prompted us to go for similar 'haats'

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India, Border Haats, Myanmar
To carry out border trade with Myanmar, the location for the construction of 'Border Haat' has been identified in four places -- Hnahlan, Zote, Vaphai (Saikhumphai) and Sangau (Pangkhua) in southeastern Mizoram. Pixabay

The success of the “Border Haats” with Bangladesh has prompted other northeastern states of India to go for similar arrangements with Myanmar. At the instance of the Mizoram government, the Centre is likely to set up four “Border Haats” (market) along the border with Myanmar to boost local trade and livelihood of the people living there.

“To carry out border trade with Myanmar, the location for the construction of ‘Border Haat’ has been identified in four places — Hnahlan, Zote, Vaphai (Saikhumphai) and Sangau (Pangkhua) in southeastern Mizoram,” Mizoram Commerce and Industries Minister R. Lalthangliana told IANS.

The Minister said, “The success of the “Border Haats” running along the Bangladesh border in Meghalaya and Tripura has prompted us to go for similar ‘haats’ with Mynmar in Mizoram.”

Mizoram Commerce and Industries Department Director J. Hmingthanmawia said that the state government has sent the detailed proposals in this regard to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) for its approval.

India, Border Haats, Myanmar
The success of the “Border Haats” with Bangladesh has prompted other northeastern states of India to go for similar arrangements with Myanmar. Pixabay

“Once we get the green signal from the MEA, we would seek funds from the Union Industries and Commerce Ministry,” Hmingthanmawia told IANS. He said that officials of the Mizoram government and Myanmar have recently conducted a joint survey and identified the locations to set up the “Border Haats”.

Mizoram Chief Minister Zoramthanga in his Independence Day speech had said that the proposed “Border Haats” would become important trade points between India and Myanmar.

“Land Custom Station (LCS) at Zokhawthar, the lone trade route for Mizoram with South East Asian countries, is being proposed for upgradation. Construction of Trade Facilitation Centre at Tlabung has already been completed.”

“The Indian government has also proposed construction of an Integrated Check Post (ICP) at four places at the border in Mizoram — Marpara, Tuipuibari, Silsuri and Nunsury. The construction of ICP at Kawrpuichhuah is also expected to commence shortly,” the Chief Minister added.

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Mizoram has an unfenced international border of 404 km with Myanmar and 318 km with Bangladesh. The Border Security Force (BSF) has been guarding the Bangladesh border and Assam Rifles personnel are posted on the border with Myanmar.

Experts and various studies suggest that if the “Border Haats” are set up, smuggling of drugs and other commodities would be checked to a large extent. Security expert Manas Paul said that large-scale smuggling of drugs from Myanmar via Mizoram and other neighbouring states has increased in the last few years.

“What is really worrisome is the fact that these synthetic drugs have got a domestic market inside the state, especially among the younger generation. Cross border legal activities including setting up of “Border Haats” could curb the smuggling of drugs and other contraband,” Paul, who has authored books on security and terrorism in the northeast, told IANS.

The CUTS International, a Jaipur based international NGO, with support from the World Bank, had conducted a study in 2016 to understand and examine the effect of “Border Haats” on poverty alleviation and other multiplier effects such as informal trade.

India, Border Haats, Myanmar
At the instance of the Mizoram government, the Centre is likely to set up four “Border Haats” (market) along the border with Myanmar to boost local trade and livelihood of the people living there. Pixabay

CUTS International Executive Director Bipul Chatterjee said that trade will increase income, curb smuggling, and cross-border crimes will also go down.

“‘Border Haats’ have contributed to the border area development, roads have improved, trafficking of women has stopped, unemployment issues have been addressed,” said Chatterjee.

Currently four “Border Haats” are operational in Meghalaya and Tripura. The first “Border Haat” was started on July 23, 2011 at Kalaichar (India)-Kurigram (Bangladesh) in the West Garo Hills of Meghalaya. Three other “haats” followed in Meghalaya and Tripura.

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The Union Industries and Commerce Ministry has been spending on an average Rs 3.5 crore to develop the infrastructure and necessary facilities for each “Border Haat” along the Bangladesh border. The Bangladesh government is not providing any funds for the purpose.  (IANS)