Trade, import and export for MSMEs: Noida-based Amitansu Satpathy has been manufacturing UPS systems, solar inverters, servers, and more under the brand name Best Power Equipments (BPE) since 2000. It took him good 18 years to expand nationally before stepping out of the country. Within India, the company had worked with all major banks and corporates across sectors including healthcare, insurance, retail, telecom, and more. SBI, AIIMS, Reliance Retail, TCS, L&T Infotech, Airtel are among customers using its UPS systems. BPE had also deployed solutions at Delhi Commonwealth Games 2010. It served as a great case study for domestic growth in the power or electrical equipment sector. However, the uncertainty in the acceptance of Indian electrical goods in other countries loomed.
To begin with, Sathpathy picked relatively smaller countries in Southeast Asia such and more affordable ones in Africa to expand outside India without knowing the acceptance level of products made in India. “When we started expanding, we realised that Made in India tag is well accepted as compared to Made in China. We should thank government initiatives towards creating awareness about Indian products globally that has given them acceptability in other countries. This was one of the factors for our growth outside India,” Sathpathy told Financial Express Online.
BPE began expansion with Malaysia in 2018 followed by Singapore, the Philippines and Indonesia. It also expanded to African countries like Uganda and Nigeria in around three years. “There is a great market opportunity in these countries for quality and affordable products,” he added.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had often urged Indian manufacturers for making goods of global standards and consumers for adopting Made in India goods. “We have to ensure that there is not only global demand but also global acceptance of Make in India products,” PM Modi had said at an online event in January last year. In his address at the World Economic Forum’s Davos Agenda summit as well on Monday, PM Modi had said “We are walking ahead with the idea of ‘Make in India, Make for the world.”
Perhaps, as a result, India is the only option other than China for people as far as emerging markets are concerned to look at, according to Sathpathy. “In other markets prices are not very competitive. If you compare with electrical goods made in China, the Indian products have much better acceptability. But the acceptance has nothing to do with Covid or any anti-China sentiments. People are aware of poor Chinese quality and their compromise on it.”
There have also been instances where BPE competed with Chinese vendors and won orders. For example, the company received an order for small UPS systems from Singapore Airlines last year for which Chinese companies had also bid. “Even though our prices were at least 30 per cent higher than Chinese companies, we had quoted for our Made in India products which Singapore Airlines agreed for,” said Sathpathy. Another aspect not often discussed but plays a decent part is language and communication.
“If you would ask Chinese suppliers for television, they will offer you multiple options without actually putting themselves in their customers’ shoes for suggesting the right product. If you are a novice in the industry and there is a language issue then it would be difficult to buy from Chinese which is not the case with Indian suppliers. However, if you have good product knowledge then procuring from China wouldn’t be difficult,” said Sathpathy.
BPE’s international unit is looking at 25-30 per cent annual growth with a target of around Rs 100 crore revenue in coming years. The company had installed its solutions at Bank of the Philippine Islands – among the largest banks in the Philippines, University of Sultan Zainal Abidin in Malaysia etc.