Being a marginal player in the Indian electronic market the Japanese Giant plans to start refrigerator business in India to tap into the huge market with an investment of Rs. 250 crore
Apart from making refrigerators in India the company aims to strengthen its R&D functions and also to expand its appliances business in India by accelerating the localizing, production and sales activities to develop products that match the local needs.
The company intends to start a manufacturing plant for refrigerators in Jhajjar region of Haryana, as well as Mumbai in the west and Chennai to the south. The surveys for land and cost have already started. They are planning to start the construction and operations by Mid-2018.
Initially, Panasonic started local production with rice cookers from 1990, TVs from 1996 and air conditioners from 2013 to address the growing demand in the market. Keeping in mind the rising demand for value-added refrigerators, the new factory has been set with an investment of Rs 115-250 crores at Technopark, Jhajjar, Haryana and will be operational starting November 2017. With an annual production capacity of approx. 500,000 units the new plant will be spread across 14,000 sq. metres.
Tetsuro Homma, President of Appliance Company & Senior Managing Director, Panasonic Corporation said, “Globally, India has been identified as one of the strategic regions for growth. The prospering economy, increasing buying power and a conducive environment for manufacturing has transformed India into a growth magnet for the world.”
Panasonic will also establish the India R&D Center in Appliances Company India consisting of two technical divisions to accelerate the product development and to realize locally fit products. It will strengthen the Design Division targeting the complete local product development process in India. The company will establish the design division in Bangalore in April 2017 in partnership with Tata Elxsi. Through this division it will develop technologies such as artificial intelligence and robotics applicable to appliance products not only for India but also for Japan and global markets.
Panasonic India and South Asia president Manish Sharma said, “We are currently importing refrigerators from Thailand, which is not working for us. Once we have the factory, we will build more sales volume in that category. Even today, the refrigerator market is the biggest in consumer durables, which is a big potential.”
According to the survey of Asian Review, around 12 million refrigerators are sold every year in the Indian market. This figure is rising by 10% or more annually, and is expected to pass 15 million in 2020. Right now, around 80% of the market belongs to South Korean giants LG Electronics and Samsung Electronics, as well as two major Indian home appliance companies.