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Akai set to make a comeback
Published on 9 Nov. 2009 11:17 PM IST
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Twice unlucky Japanese electronics brand, Akai is staging a comeback in the country soon. The aggressive ‘price warrior’ brand, which in the mid-90s revolutionized the consumer electronic market and is credited with many ‘marketing firsts’, will be re-introduced by Pranay Dhabhai, who is also responsible for launching Chinese major, Haier in the domestic market. According to industry sources, the Akai brand of electronics including colour televisions, home theatres and DVD players will soon be launched by a venture, Global Brands Enterprise Solutions, promoted by Dhabhai. Confirming to TOI, Dhabhai said, “we will re-introduce the Akai brand in December-January as we have entered into an agreement with the Japanese parent. We also hold the marketing rights in countries like Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bangladesh, besides India.” Akai was first introduced in the domestic market by Kabir Mulchandani-run Baron Electronics, who positioned it as ‘price warrior’ to capture a major share in the colour television dominated by players like BPL, Videocon, Philips and Onida. In fact, Baron launched 21-inch colour television at an aggressive price of Rs 10,000, which was unthinkable in the 90s. The company which scaled up very rapidly by creating a price war in the CTV market, soon ran into rough weather. In 1999, consumer electronic major Videocon entered into alliance with Akai Electric. But the Rs 300-crore brand seems to have disappeared from show-rooms over the last few months. Industry sources said Akai’s brand licensing agreement with Videocon ended in September this year. Videocon chairman VN Dhoot was unavailable for comments. The recently-floated venture by Dhabhai will also expand the range of Akai by introducing more categories. “The company has entered into a long-term agreement with Akai,” Dhabhai added. Consumer electronics like TVs and audio products will be manufactured in the country by third-party manufacturers, while some will be imported from southeast Asia and Japan. The Akai brand which was founded in Japan in 1929, is now headquartered in Singapore as a subsidiary of Grande Holdings, a Chinese-Hongkong based conglomerate.

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