11-12-2017 Haider Ali Khan
KARA MOBILES, A DELHI-BASED HOMEGROWN BRAND, IS ON AN EXPANSION SPREE WITH TWO MORE BRANDS TO ITS NAME AND WANTS TO MAKE IT BIG IN THE FIELD OF MOBILE MANUFACTURING WITHIN THE COUNTRY. BEING A STARTUP, THE JOURNEY OF KARA MOBILES HAS NOT BEEN THAT SMOOTH DUE TO DEMONETIZATION IN THE INITIAL STAGES BUT NOW IT HAS RECOVERED FROM THE INITIAL HICCUPS TO TAKE ON TO THE ALREADY ESTABLISHED PLAYERS IN THE INDIAN MARKET. KARAN THUKRAL, CHAIRMAN OF KARA MOBILES SHARED HIS ANECDOTES WITH HAIDER ALI KHAN ABOUT THE COMPANY AND ITS PLANNING AHEAD.
Which are the target areas of Kara Mobiles?
Our majority sales come from non-metro cities and towns. We are present in West Bengal, Bihar, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Punjab, Hyderabad, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Gujarat and North Eastern States. At the same time we would be exploring new demography as well.
What would be the suitable channel for growth?
We will be focusing on both the medium to sell our devices. Online is doing well as of now and the offline medium is on the rise.
How has been the sale during Diwali and post GST?
Overall, GST has not impacted the sales of our devices but, what had impacted earlier was demonetization. We were almost on the brink of closure at that time because we have just started our operations in September 2016, two months before demonetization was implemented.
But, things have improved since then. GST has provided a level playing field for all of us as an industry. The rate which used to be at 5 percent now stands at 12 percent and that will ultimately percolate on to the buyer’s pocket.
What is production capability of Kara Mobiles?
The current production output at this facility is 1.5 lakhs units per month. The production of feature phones is more as compared to smartphones. We have started our operation on 5 September 2016 with just 40 members, manufacturing around 30 thousands units in a month. We have hired Indian engineers at that time to look into the nuances of manufacturing without any other outsourcing. And now, we’re a team of more than 200 people.
Where do you see the demand in the areas which you would be targeting? Is it the feature or smartphones?
The area which we’re targeting is more interested into feature phones and because of that if we’re producing 100 mobiles in a day, 70 of them would be feature phones, rest are smartphones. The demand keeps on changing. In the initial six months we were getting only few enquiries but now things have improved. Now people can easily identify our brand Kara.
How do you see the competition in the market?
The competition will always be there and at the same time each one is able to sell their respective brands. It’s the amount of money that you put into a brand comes back automatically to you. The kind of investments which Chinese companies are putting in brand promotion is huge. We are not going to copy their model but will surely focus on going strength to strength as even the banks are willing to give credits to us which wasn’t the case earlier. So we at Kara are very optimistic about our future and not wary of the competition in the market.
What is the USP of Kara Mobiles?
For that you have to feel our products. We are focusing on music, battery, torch and selfie cameras. We do keep in mind the design of our each product to give the maximum out of minimum amount in that range. We are also giving 100 days replacement warranty on the handsets. We have over 400 service centers across the country.
What would be your planning for the future?
We will be bringing more Android based phones in the coming months. We would aspire to increase the production capacity to 4 lakhs units per month and for that we will be adding more work force. At the same time, we are also mulling options to start our own in-house battery manufacturing.