Toshiba TEC invests big time in bringing innovation to printing technology to satisfy different customer needs, stresses Isao Sugehara, the Japanese IT major’s chief marketing executive,. In his opinion, India market is as evolved as the global markets for multifunction (MFP) devices but a major game changer is the fact that India is at a growth stage with a huge potential in Tier 3 and Tier 4 markets yet to be tapped. “We have deeply studied the potential and hidden needs for customers in India and designed our products together with our R&D centre, Toshiba Software India. By launching innovative products, we want to obtain 15% market share in India by 2017,” he tells Sudhir Chowdhary in a recent interaction. Excerpts:
How is the printer market evolving in the Asia Pacific region? Is India in sync with the market trends?
There are three clear trends in the printer market that are very evident. First trend is mobile printing, with the radical increase in the penetration of smartphones and tablets, document printing through network is becoming popular. Second trend that we see is eco-friendly printing, with the current sensitivity regarding environmental issue. Another key trend, that we see reflecting in the Indian market as well, is the colour printing and we see a positive sales trend in the colour printing segment.
India market too is as evolved as the global markets for MFP devices but a major game changer is the fact that India is at a growth stage with a huge potential in Tier 3 and Tier 4 markets yet to be tapped.
How has Toshiba grown in its printer market share in India in comparison to global markets?
Currently we have 6% market share in India almost same of global market share, but we see a huge potential to grow in India. We have a very strong product range in India, with total 27 MFP models including the game-changing A4 size, A3 compatible new MFP that we just launched. Our pricing strategy will be aggressive and we will price products at a good value for money proposition.
Traditionally Toshiba had been strong in the government sector and now Indian government spends are projected to be increasing again after the slump that started in 2008/09 and this gives us a huge opportunity to grow our sales and market share. Also we are looking at streamlining our channel network for optimum market coverage which will give good impetus to our sales. We are looking at expanding our coverage in Tier 2, 3 and 4 markets and are also considering expansion of our own sales team to have more direct and close interaction with our customers. With all this, we are hopeful to achieve a market share of 15% by 2017.
What are the opportunities that you see in the Indian market?
India has huge population with a very impressive economic growth rate. GDP growth is 7% plus and we expect demand from this market will increase for our products. We see a revival in the government spending and a strong growth potential coming from Tier 2, 3 and 4 markets in India. Toshiba will focus on delivering the right products which are affordable without compromising on quality or features.
What’s your forecast on mobile printing?
Mobile print demand will tremendously increase in India, globally also its increasing. Whenever we introduce new models, we consider the new consumer trends and try to incorporate those in our products.
How do you plan to target the enterprise market of India?
By launching innovative products and Linux compatibility we wish to target enterprise market. We will price our products with a clear value for money focus to convince our customers to consider Toshiba MFP products. To promote our products to the enterprise market, we are planning to increase our market coverage through channel
expansion. Apart from traditional MFP channels, we will also make our products available through IT channels.
In addition, we will initiate a customer outreach programme where we will conduct exhibitions and participate in seminars to get an opportunity to directly demonstrate Toshiba MFP’s technology prowess and value for money proposition. With all these initiatives, we want to obtain 15% market share in India market by 2017.
How does India fare from a manufacturing point of view in your sector?
So far no plans. If market grows and it justifies we will consider and infrastructure also has to be ready.
What are your plans to grow your operations in India—in terms of investment, and expanding sales and marketing activities?
First and foremost, we will continue to develop more competitive products that offer meaningful innovations to our
customers in India and help them grow their business. We will also continue to invest in the channel partners and consolidate our penetration across India, in the coming years.
India continues to remain an important strategic market for Toshiba TEC and we will invest to expand our team to reinforce increase of support to our partners here.