MARKETING MANAGER: Paresh
A clear # 2 position in the inkjet segment-with a market share of 20 percent on
total sales of 26,000 units-indicate that, overall, 1997-98 was a good year for Epson
Singapore Pte Ltd’s India operations. Clocking in revenues of Rs 67 crore last year, the
company has entered the DQ Next 30 Club this year, for the first time. The Indian liaison
office, headquartered at Chennai, attained a branch office status last year, with its
operations coming under control of Epson Singapore.
On the product front, its low-end Stylus Color 400 (720 dpi) printer, became the
maximum selling model in its segment. So was the case with its Stylus 1440 dpi inkjet
printer, which tasted success due to its higher resolution and price competitiveness. In
the DMP segment, where the company faced tough competition from TVS Electronics and Wipro,
it sold about 57,000 units at a premium price. With this it achieved a 28 percent market
share of the segment.
Epson found a niche in the color graphics segment with the photo-quality range of color
printers in applications such as pre-press. And looking at the huge potential for the
regional language printer market, it was proactive to develop and test-market the final
prototype of the Hindi in-built font printer. The product, which is expected to be
launched in August this year, is targeted at the Hindi-speaking states.
The company, which has just one office in Chennai, is already preparing to move its
base to Bangalore. With this, the Chennai office will be one of the branches in addition
to two offices, which will be opened in Mumbai and Delhi in the current year.
Service is another area where the company is gearing up fast. It plans to set up its
own service centers in five different pockets of the country, and train channel partners
on its technology. Epson is also in the process of importing spares and service components
from the Singapore office.
Other plans on the anvil are, introduction of six color product ranges, in addition to
color proofing products for the pre-press industry, and offer total color solutions for
the graphics-based industries. Epson will also introduce video LCD projectors through
dedicated distributors in the country for the next year. Other products that the company
will check out in India for the fiscal 1998-99 are digital cameras and scanners, and
‘Intelligent Register’, its Point of Sale (PoS) system.
However, it is not likely that the company will start an assembly unit or a
manufacturing base for printers in India, at least for the next two years. The South East
Asian economic crisis is one factor which will cause a further delay in this venture. The
company’s target this year will be gaining a 30 percent market share at the cost of its
competitor Hewlett Packard.