Japan’s Panasonic has introduced a new range of Android-based hand-held Toughbook devices for the modern mobile workforce. India is a key growth market for Panasonic’s Toughbook segment, Hiroaki Sakamoto, managing director of Mobile Solutions Business Division, Panasonic tells Sudhir Chowdhary in a recent interaction. Excerpts:
Panasonic is more identified with digital cameras and mobile phones. What effect does it have on the brand? What are your efforts to re-create a brand beyond this image?
Globally over 78% of Panasonic revenues come from the B2B segment, and rest comes from the consumer goods business. So we have seamlessly transitioned into a company that is robustly focusing on providing services and solutions to businesses holistically, and are in process of augmenting that model in India as well. We lead the computing ruggedised market in India, with over 55% market share and thus are recognised as a key enterprise player in the country.
Within the Toughbook business, we have over 53% market share globally, and are recognised as global leaders within the ruggedised computing solutions business. The category contributes over $2 billion to our global revenues.
With Panasonic completing 100 years, what is the global growth strategy?
As we enter the next great growth century, we want to further focus on uplifting and upgrading the ‘life’ quotient of our consumers. Staying true to our slogan of ‘A Better life, a Better world’ we want to delve deep into this phenomenon by enhancing the ease of living aspect of our consumers, through our range of technological solutions and services.
What kind of traction do you see for the Toughbook range in India?
India is a key growth market for Panasonic’s Toughbook segment, and will continue to be so because of its widespread consumer acceptance and large scale growth possibilities which can drive the segment for years to come. We have supplied over 6,000 devices to the police services of J&K, Kerala, Bengaluru, Chattisgarh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh besides Bangladesh. With the launch of our new products we are now robustly foraying into the hand-held devices market and target newer segments such as logistics, retail and intelligent warehousing, segments that have grown widely over the last few years due to the boom in the e commerce category. We are already the market leaders in ruggedised laptop and tablet segment, and are now looking to position ourselves in the handheld segment which is growing at the rate of 15-20% YoY.
What are your plans for investment in India?
USA, Europe, Taiwan and Japan are our key markets, but we are really looking at growing the category here in India as well since it presents plethora of expansion opportunities. In India, we have strong enterprise segment, and almost 90% of companies in India are using Panasonic Toughbook products.
How important is India market for you and how is it different from other markets that you are present in?
The opportunities are quite significant for the business here and we have already seized upon a few opportunities presented by the government. The installation of Toughpads in police vans across the states of Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Kerala and Karnataka, Rajasthan is a testimony of that. More than six state police forces are utilising our hardware solutions, some of the top airline companies are using Toughbooks for MRO activities, maintenance and repair based solutions as well. Over the last year, we have seen a high turnaround within the pharmaceutical segment, and thus are providing solutions to most of the country’s top 10 pharmaceutical conglomerates.
Globally what is the growth you are looking at?
Over the next couple of years we will continue to see high growth output from advanced countries such as USA, Europe and Japan. Owing to India’s growth potential, over the next 10-20 years we can see the subcontinent country enhance its contributions to the global Toughbook revenues.