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No beating about the bush.
Videocon is planning to achieve a pan-India presence by the end of February. It will also roll out 15 more models of handsets in the next two months, in addition to exploring the option of coming out with 3G handsets
Leading conglomerate Videocon, which has forayed into the mobile handset space, has said that it plans to achieve a pan-India presence by the end of February and roll out 15 more models of handsets in two months, in addition to exploring the option of coming out with 3G handsets.
"We will be going beyond soft launches and will aim at having a pan-India presence. We will expand our footprint this month and fill in the balance by the end of next month and have a pan-India presence by the end of February", Rahul Goel, chief operating officer (COO), Videocon Mobile Phones, told PTI in the wake of the launch of the company's mobile handsets in Karnataka.
"Videocon has 12 models currently; we are not in the black-and-white space. We understand that there is a huge requirement for dual SIM phones and we are looking at developing more phones in that region,” he said, adding, "We are looking at launching 15 more models in the next two months.”
On whether a 3G phone was on the company's roadmap, he said, "We are positioning Videocon in the high-end space as well and will be coming up with high-end QWERTY phones and phones with 3G capability.”
On the timeframe for coming out with the 3G model, he said, currently, it was not possible to ascribe any specific timeframe, but once the private sector gets access to the 3G spectrum, it would be a matter of a month before the product would be rolled out, he said.
On Videocon's entry into the mobile handset space, Mr Goel said, "There is a huge potential in the market and a large base of consumers are untouched throughout the country.
"Other than urban & semi-urban (areas), the rural market is expanding rapidly and I think it is the right time to enter the market and we are doing it after a lot of research,” he said.
"There are 10 million-12 million mobile phones being purchased every month. There is no proper brand in the market addressing the requirements of the segment. Entering the mobile space is a natural extension for us, since we are already in the consumer durables space,” said Mr Goel.
"New operators have launched their cell phones, and in terms of numbers, we already have more than 100 million subscribers and it is getting bigger and better day by day. Replacement and advancement of cell phones is also a huge pie of the total,” said the COO of Videocon Mobile.
On the contribution of the mobile segment to the overall turnover of the company, he said, "We will have a significant double-digit share by end of next fiscal.
"Our benchmark is to be in line with consumer requirements and to be one of the top three players by 2011,” he said.
"A leadership position in two years we think is doable,” he said, adding, "We have a strong foundation and infrastructure, strong customer service, distribution, and product development (capabilities). We have invested in the right pillars to enable us to be leaders in the space,” he said.
"We want to be a one stop-shop for the customer whoever wants to by a cell phone of any range,” said Mr Goel. The company would shortly be airing its television commercials. "We do not have a brand ambassador now, but we shall use a celebrity eventually,” he said.
More downside on the cards
Last week, we had headlined our newsletter as “Make or Break”, declaring that a big move was coming. We had said, “Watch 17,200 on the Sensex for a major decline.”Our logic was that the “market’s trading band has narrowed down to an extreme. This usually presages a major move. We can’t say at this moment whether the market will end higher or lower but a big move is certainly coming. If Asian markets open low on Monday and the Sensex ends below 17,200, that would be an early sign of reversal of the uptrend. The rise has gone on for too long without a correction and it’s time for bullishness to cool down a bit.”
Indian markets plunged this week following weak global cues. Fears that China’s central bank may tighten its lending norms and US President Barack Obama’s proposal to limit risk-taking at US banks weighed heavily on market sentiment in the later part of the week. On Monday, 18 January 2010, the Sensex was up 87 points from Friday’s (15 January 2010) close, ending the day at 17,641, while the Nifty closed at 5,275, up 23 points.
Fears of stimulus tightening by the Indian government weighed heavily on market sentiments on Tuesday, 19 January. The Sensex declined 155 points from the previous day’s close, ending the day at 17,486 while the Nifty ended the day at 5,226, down 49 points. On Wednesday (20 January 2010) the market tried to hold on to its level; the Sensex declined 12 points while the Nifty closed at 5,222, down 4 points. During the day, finance minister Pranab Mukherjee said that the government was taking steps to contain inflation and the situation was constantly under review. Sharad Pawar, agriculture minister, said that the prices of milk and related products were set to rise because of the demand-supply mismatch. Kaushik Basu, economic advisor to the finance ministry, said that food prices will cool off in one-two months and inflation will turn around.
Thursday was a day of mayhem. Once 17,200 was broken, the Sensex declined a massive 423 points from the previous day’s close ending the day at 17,051, while the Nifty closed at 5,094, down 127 points. During trading hours, the Indian government said that the food price index rose 16.81% in the 12 months to 9 January 2010, while the fuel index was up 6.34%. The rise in food price index was lower than an annual rise of 17.28% in the previous week. As per reports, excise duty collections between April to December 2009 were down by 13% at close to Rs70,000 crore, whereas revenues via customs duty were also down by a whopping 28% at around Rs59,000 crore. Service tax collection was also down over 6%, with the government collecting slightly over Rs36,000 crore. The total collection of indirect taxes in the first nine months was about Rs1,66,000 crore, down by 18% compared to the last fiscal. On Friday, 22 January 2010, at the end of the day, the Sensex declined 191 points from the previous day’s close to 16,860 while the Nifty closed at 5,036, down 58 points. According to research firm EPFR Global, investors have pulled $348 million from China equity funds in the week ended 20 January 2010, the biggest outflow in 18 weeks. Asia ex-Japan equity funds took in only $29 million because of China-related outflows, though global emerging market equity funds attracted $748 million in fresh money in the week to 20th January. We expect the Indian market to open lower on Monday, 25 January 2010, on the back of weak European and US markets on Friday. The Sensex has a support at 16,600. If this support is breached, we may see another round of sell-off, all the way down to 15,500.
This looks really, really bad. An avid Facebook user named Harman Bajwa says that his Facebook vanity Url – Facebook.com/Harman – was unceremoniously revoked yesterday for violating Facebook’s policies. His new Facebook URL is the much less memorable facebook.com/profile.php?id=538612932.