Panasonic Appliances is looking at exporting automatic cookers from India to Europe and Oceania in 2019 as a part of its expansion plans.
Hidenori Aso, Managing Director, Panasonic Appliances India Company Limited, said the company is looking to start off with the UK or France, Italy and Australia in 2019, and expand into Africa.
Panasonic Appliances currently exports rice cookers to 44 countries, which include Japan. “I think it is the first time in history that the made in India appliance is marketed in the Japan. So we will be exporting to Japan instead of saying that our product is made in Japan,” Aso stated. Their first shipment to Japan was despatched in September.
Asked about the effect of the depreciating rupee on the export plans, Aso said, “When it comes to Panasonic Appliances India, a major business is from the exports, so the current condition is very favourable for exports.”
Panasonic Appliances (PAPIN) was established in 1988 for manufacturing, importing, marketing and selling kitchen and small domestic appliances. Panasonic marked its entry into India with the rice cooker.
The revenue accrued from the export of rice cookers manufactured in India will drive half of the revenue of their planned export target of ₹100 crore from India over the next three years.
“We believe the demand of rice cookers in India will increase. There will be a demand from countries in Africa,” said Aso. Panasonic Appliances’ current plant capacity in India is 1.43 million units and it is looking at increasing this to 2.1 million units in the next five years, for automatic cookers, mixer grinders and wet grinders.
“We are also planning to bring in some new blenders in the Indian domestic market-the tumbler kind of blenders-which is for the health conscious people,” he added.
When it comes to challenges, Aso pointed out that because they are the only manufacturers of small appliances in India, they face a lot of competition from China, with their brands bringing in cheaper products.
“I think we need to encourage manufacturing within India where small appliances are manufactured in India and certain laws are required to protect the consumers in terms of safety,” he said.
Going forward, Aso said that Panasonic Appliances is planning to look at products which can be put to multiple uses and will be able to cover two or three requirements.