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International Business ( Done)


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Ten years ago, Arvind Clothing Ltd., a subsidiary of Arvind Brands Ltd., a member of the Ahmedabad based Lalbhai Group, signed up with the 150- year old Arrow Company, a division of Cluett Peabody & Co. Inc., US, for licensed manufacture of Arrow shirts in India. What this brought to India was not just another premium dress shirt brand but a new manufacturing philosophy to its garment industry which combined high productivity, stringent in-line quality control, and a conducive factory ambience. Arrow’s first plant, with a 55,000 sq. ft. area and capacity to make 3,000 to 4,000 shirts a day, was established at Bangalore in 1993 with an investment of Rs 18 crore. The conditions inside—with good lighting on the workbenches, high ceilings, ample elbow room for each worker, and plenty of ventilation, were a decided contrast to the poky, crowded, and confined sweatshops characterising the usual Indian apparel factory in those days. It employed a computer system for translating the designed shirt’s dimensions to automatically mark the master pattern for initial cutting of the fabric layers. This was installed, not to save labour but to ensure cutting accuracy and low wastage of cloth. The over two-dozen quality checkpoints during the conversion of fabric to finished shirt was unique to the industry. It is among the very few plants in the world that makes shirts with 2 ply 140s and 3 ply 100s cotton fabrics using 16 to 18 stitches per inch. In March 2003, the Bangalore plant could produce stain-repellant shirts based on nanotechnology. The reputation of this plant has spread far and wide and now it is loaded mostly with export orders from renowned global brands such as GAP, Next, Espiri, and the like. Recently the plant was identified by Tommy Hilfiger to make its brand of shirts for the Indian market. As a result, Arvind Brands has had to take over four other factories in Bangalore on wet lease to make the Arrow brand of garments for the domestic market. In fact, the demand pressure from global brands which want to outsource form Arvind Brands is so great that the company has had to set up another large factory for export jobs on the outskirts of Bangalore. The new unit of 75,000 sq. ft. has cost Rs 16 crore and can turn out 8,000 to 9,000 shirts per day. The technical collaborators are the renowned C&F Italia of Italy. Among the cutting edge technologies deployed here are a Gerber make CNC fabric cutting machine, automatic collar and cuff stitching machines, pneumatic holding for tasks like shoulder joining, threat trimming and bottom hemming, a special machine to attach and edge stitch the back yoke, foam finishers which use air and steam to remove creases in the finished garment, and many others. The stitching machines in this plant can deliver up to 25 stitches per inch. A continuous monitoring of the production process in the entire factory is done through a computerised apparel production management system, which is hooked to every machine. Because of the use of such technology, this plant will need only 800 persons for a capacity which is three times that of the first plant which employs 580 persons. Exports of garments made for global brands fetched Arvind Brands over Rs 60 crore in 2002, and this can double in the next few years, when the new factory goes on full stream. In fact, with the lifting of the country-wise quota regime in 2005, there will be surge in demand for high quality garments from India and Arvind is already considering setting up two more such high tech export-oriented factories. It is not just in the area of manufacture but also retailing that the Arrow brand brought a wind of change on the Indian scene. Prior to its coming, the usual Indian shirt shop used to be a clutter of racks with little by way of display. What Arvind Brands did was to set up exclusive showrooms for Arrow shirts in which the functional was combined with aesthetic. Stuffed racks and clutter eschewed. The product were displayed in such a manner the customer could spot their qualities from a distance. Of course, today this has become standard practice with many other brands in the country, but Arrow showed the way. Arrow today has the largest network of 64 exclusive outlets across India. It is also present in 30 retail chains. It branched into multi-brand outlets in 2001, and is present in over 200 select outlets. From just formal dress shirts in the beginning, the product range of Arvind Brands has expanded in the last ten years to include casual shirts, T-shirts, and trousers. In the pipeline are light jackets and jeans engineered for the middle-aged paunch. Arrow also tied up with the renowned Italian designer, Renato Grande, who has worked with names like Versace and Marlboro, to design its Spring / Summer Collection 2003. The company has also announced its intention to license the Arrow brand for other lifestyle accessories like footwear, watches, undergarments, fragrances, and leather goods. According to Darshan Mehta, President, Arvind Brands Ltd., the current turnover at retail prices of the Arrow brand in India is about Rs 85 crore. He expects the turnover to cross Rs 100 crore in the next few years, of which about 15 per cent will be from the licensed non-clothing products. In 2005, Arvind Brands launched a major retail initiative for all its brands. Arvind Brands licensed brands (Arrow, Lee and Wrangler) had grown at a healthy 35 per cent rate in 2004 and the company planned to sustain the growth by increasing their retail presence. Arvind Brands also widened the geographical presence of its home-grown brands, such as Newport and Ruf-n Tuf, targeting small towns across India. The company planned to increase the number of outlets where its domestic brands would be available, and draw in new customers for readymades. To improve its presence in the high-end market, the firm started negotiating with an international brand and is likely to launch the brand. The company has plans to expand its retail presence of Newport Jeans, from 1200 outlets across 480 towns to 3000 outlets covering 800 towns. For a company ranked as one of the world’s largest manufactures of denim cloth and owners of world famous brands, the future looks bright and certain for Arvind Brands Ltd.

Company profile

Name of the Company : Arvind Mills
Year of Establishment : 1931
Promoters : Three brothers--Katurbhai, Narottam Bhai, and Chimnabhai
Divisions : Arvind Mills was split in 1993 into Units—textiles, telecom and garments. Arvind Ltd. (textile unit) is 100 per cent subsidiary of Arvind Mills.
Growth Strategy : Arvind Mills has grown through buying-up of sick units, going global and acquisition of German and US brand names.


1. Why did Arvind Mills choose globalization as the major route to achieve growth when the domestic market was huge?

The reasons of choosing global market by Arvind Mills are: 1. Market seeking motives, such as exclusiveness of product and service with high productivity, stringent in-line quality control and an encouraging manufacturing atmosphere. 2. Economic motives, such as profit making by implementing cutting edge technologies to achieve economies of scale and spreading R&D costs etc. 3. Strategic motives, such as buying-up of sick units, departing worldwide and gaining German and US brand names.

2. How does lifting of ‘Country-wise quota regime’ help Arvind Mills?

The lifting of ‘Country-wise quota regime’ surged a demand for high quality garments from India; while Arvind brands crossed over Rs. 60 crore in the year 2002 and planned to setup two more high tech export-oriented factories in India. And now, Arvind has the largest network of 64 outlets with 30 retail chains and 200 multi-brand outlets all over India. The current turnover of Arvind Brand is about Rs. 85 crore, which aimed to reach Rs. 100 crore with 1200-3000 outlets across 480-800 towns.

3. What lessons can other Indian businesses learn form the experience of Arvind Mills?

Arvind Mills is one of the trademarks of Indian market, which executed diverse patterns of business. Arvind brand extended the international brands in small towns of India. Of course, many other business brands in India now follows Arvind brand. The other Indian businesses should learn a lot from Arvind Mills: international outset of market; Multi-regional integration approach; union and attainment, strategic alliances, international delegates, global network formation; changes in internal organization, etc.


Kenya’ economy has been beset by high rates of unemployment and underemployment for many years. But at no time has it been more significant and more politically dangerous than in the late 1990s as an authoritarian beset by corruption, cronyism and economic plunder threatened the economic stability of this once proud nation. Yet Kenya still has great potential. Located in East Africa, it has a diverse geographic and climatic endowment. Three-fifths of the nation is semiarid desert (mostly in the north), and the resulting infertility of this land has dictated the location of 85 per cent of the population (30 million in 2000) and almost all economic activity in the southern two-fifths of the country. Kenya’s rapidly growing population is composed of many tribes and is extremely heterogeneous (including traditional herders, subsistence and commercial farmers, Arab Muslims, and cosmopolitan residents of Nairobi). The standard of living at least in major cities, is relatively high compared to the average of other sub-Saharan African countries. However, widespread poverty (per capita US$360), high unemployment, and growing income inequality make Kenya a country of economic as well as geographic diversity. Agriculture is the most important economic activity. About three quarters of the population still lives in rural areas and about 7 million workers are employed in agriculture, accounting for over two-thirds of the total workforce. Despite many changes in the democratic system, including the switch from a federal to a republican government, the conversion of the prime ministerial system into a presidential one, the transition to a unicameral legislature, and the creation of a one-party state, Kenya has displayed relatively high political stability (by African standards) since gaining independence from Britain in 1963. Since independence, there have been only two presidents. However, this once stable and prosperous capitalist nation has witnessed widespread ethnic violence and political upheavals since 1992 as a deteriorating economy, unpopular one-party rule, and charges of government corruption create a tense situation. An expansionary economic policy characterised by large public investments, support of small agricultural production units, and incentives for private (domestic and foreign) industrial investment played an important role in the early 7 per cent rate of GDP growth in the first decade after independence. In the following seven years (1973-80), the oil crisis let to a lower GDP growth to an annual rate of 5 per cent. Along with the oil price shock, lack of adequate domestic saving and investment slowed the growth of the economy. Various economic policies designed to promote industrial growth led to a neglect of agriculture and a consequent decline in farm prices, farm production, and farmer incomes. As peasant farmers became poorer, more migrated to Nairobi, swelling an already overcrowded city and pushing up an existing high rate of urban unemployment. Very high birthrates along with a steady decline in death rates (mainly through lower infant mortality) led Kenya’s population growth to become the highest in the world (4.1 per cent per year) in 1988. Population growth fell to a still high rate of 2.4 per cent for the period 1990-2000. The slowdown in GDP growth persisted in the following five years (1980-85), when the annual average was 2.6 per cent. It was a period of stabilization in which political shakiness of 1982 and the severe drought in 1984 contributed to a slowdown in industrial growth. Interest rates rose and wages fell in the public and private sectors. An improvement in the budget deficit and current account trade deficit, obtained through cuts in development expenditures and recessive policies aimed at reducing imports, contributed to lower economic growth. By 1990, Kenya’s per capita income was 9 per cent lower than it was in 1980--$370 compared to $410. It continued to decline in the 1990s. In fact, GDP per capita fell at an annual average rate of 0.3 per cent throughout the decade. At the same time, the urban unemployment rate rose to 30 per cent. Comprising 23 per cent of 2000 GDP AND 77 per cent of merchandise exports, agricultural production is the backbone of the Kenyan economy. Because of its importance, the Kenyan government has implemented several policies to nourish the agricultural sector. Two such policies include fixing attractive producer prices and making available increasing amounts of fertilizer. Kenya’s chief agricultural exports are coffee, tea, sisal, cashew nuts, pyrethrum, and horticultural products. Traditionally, coffee has been Kenya’s chief earner in foreign exchange. Although Kenya is chiefly agrarian, it is still the most industrialised country in eastern Africa. Public and private industry accounted for 16 per cent of GDP in 2000. Kenya’s chief manufacturing activities are food processing and the production of beverages, tobacco, footwear, textiles, cement, metal products, paper, and chemicals. Kenya currently faces a multitude of problems. These include a stagnating economy, growing political unrest, a huge budget deficit, high unemployment, a substantial balance of payments problem, and a stubbornly high population growth rate. With the unemployment rate already at 30 per cent and its population growing, Kenya faces the major task of employing its burgeoning labour force. Yet only 10-15 per cent of seekers land jobs in the modern industrial sector. The remainder must find jobs in the self-employment sector; in the agricultural sector, where wages are low and opportunities are scarce; or join the masses of the unemployed. In addition to the unemployment problem, Kenya must always be concerned with how to feed its growing population. An increase in population means an increasing demand for food. Yet only 20 per cent of Kenya’s land is arable. This implies that the land must become increasingly productive. Unfortunately, several factors work to constrain Kenya’s food output, among them fragmented landholdings, increasing environmental degradation, the high cost of agricultural inputs, and burdensome governmental involvement in the purchase, sale, and pricing of agricultural output. For the fiscal year 1995, the Kenyan budget deficit was $362 million, well above the government’s target rate. Dealing with a high budget deficit is a second problem Kenya currently faces. Following the collapse of the East African Common Market, Kenya’s industrial growth rate has declined; as a result the government’s tax base has diminished. To supplement domestic savings, Kenya has had to turn to external sources of finance, including foreign aid grants from Western governments. Its highly protected public enterprises have been turning in a poor performance, thus absorbing a large chunk of the government budget. To pay for its expenses, Kenya has had to borrow from international banks in addition to foreign aid. In recent years, government borrowing from the international banking system rose dramatically and contributed to a rapid growth in money supply. This translated into high inflation and pinched availability of credit. Kenya has also had a chronic international balance of payments problem. Decreasing prices for its exports, combined with increasing prices for its imports, left Kenya importing almost twice as much as it exported in 2000, at $3,200 million in imports and only $1,650 million in exports. World demand for coffee, Kenya‘s predominant exports, remains below supply. In 2001-01, a dramatic surge in coffee exports from Vietnam hurt Kenya further. Hence Kenya cannot make full use of its comparative advantage in coffee production, and its stock of coffee has been increasing. Tea, another main export, has also had difficulties. In 1987, Pakistan, the second largest importer of Kenyan tea, slashed its purchases. Combined with a general oversupply in the world market, this fall in demand drove the price of tea downward. Hence Kenya experienced both a lower dollar value and quantity demanded for one of its principal exports. Kenya faces major challenges in the years ahead as the economy tries to recover. Current is expected to be no more than 1 to 2 per cent annually. Heavy rains have spoiled crops and washed away roads, bridges, and telephone lines. Foreign exchange earnings from tourism, once promising, dropped by 40 per cent in the mid-1990s, then suffered again after the August 7, 1998, terrorist bombing of the US embassy in Nairobi. Even more frightening, however, is the prospect of growing hunger as Kenya’s maize (corn) crop has failed to meet rising internal demand and dwindling foreign exchange reserves have to be spent to import food. Corruption is perceived to be so widespread that the International Monetary Fund and World Bank suspended $292 million in loans to Kenyan in the summer of 1997 while insisting on tough new austerity measures to control public spending and weed out economic cronyism. As a result, the economy went into a tailspin, foreign investors fled the country, and inflation accelerated markedly. Unfortunately, needed structural adjustments resulting form the World Bank—and IMF—induced austerity demands usually take a long time. Whether the Kenyan political and economic system can withstand any further deterioration in living conditions is a major question. Public protests for greater democracy and a growing incidence of ethnic violence may be harbingers of things to come.

Fig 1 Continuum of Economic Systems

Pure Market Pure Centrally Planned Economy

The US France India China Canada Brazil Cuba UK North Korea


1. Is the economic environment of Kenya favourable to international business? Yes or no—substantiate.

After elucidating the annual losses, poverty and GDP, I think Kenya is unfavorable for International businesses. Kenya’s prior source of income is agriculture, which carries coffee, tea, sisal, cashew nuts, etc. However, coffee is the fixed chief earner in Kenya’s foreign trade. Apart from this, Kenya produces beverages, tobacco, footwear, textiles, cement, metal products, paper and chemicals. However, the extreme growth of population, lack of education and high unemployment, political conflicts and natural adversities are the major grounds which creates a massive problems in Kenya.

Business and treats can be prepared, if either one party have reserves, other have funds. In this case, Kenya may be full of natural resources, production materials and business sources; but the major drawbacks present in the country will not permit any international brand to create any venture. As per my opinion, where the people are not getting 2 time meal to survive, thinking of International trading is a kind of foolishness. Govt. should first try to eradicate the problems persist and arouse there usually. Govt. must control the corruption and make stern of entering the outsiders or terrorist attacks in the country, to get sufficient IMF and Relief from World Bank to wipe out the traumas

2. In the continuum of economic systems (see Fig 1), where do you place Kenya and why?

In the continuum of economic systems, Kenya may be placed at Proactive stage; as it is faces lots of setbacks from the beginning and even after attaining independence from British in the year 1963. This is because, reactive persons thinks after anything happens wrong or right; whereas, proactive person thinks before happening anything. In this case, Kenya is accustomed with several problems since many decades; now it’s time to awaken and resolve the troubles


Though a late entrant, Toyota is planning to conquer the Indian car market. The Japanese auto major wants to dispel the notion that the first mover enjoys an edge over the rivals who arrive late into a market. Toyota entered the Indian market through the joint venture route, the partner being the Bangalore based Kirloskar Electric Co. Know as Toyota Kirloskar Motor (TKM), the plant was set up in 1998 at Bidadi near Bangalore. To start with, TKM released its maiden offer—Qualis. Qualis is not a newly conceived, designed, and brought out vehicle. Rather it is the new avatar of Kijang under which brand the vehicle was sold in markets like Indonesia. Qualis virtually had no competition. Telco’s Sumo was not a multi-utility vehicle like Qualis. Rather, it was mini-truck converted into a rugged all-purpose van. More importantly, Toyota proved that even its old offering, but decked up for India, could offer better quality than its competitor. Backed by a carefully thought out advertising campaign that communicated Toyota’s formidable global reputation, Qualis went on a roll and overtook Tata Sumo within two years of launch. Sumo sold 25,706 vehicles during 2000-2001, compared to a 3 per cent growth over the previous year, compared to 25,373 of Qualis. But during 2001-2002, it was a different story. Qualis had been clocking more than 40 per cent share of the market. At the end of Sept 2001, Qualis had sold over 25,000 units, compared to Sumo’s 18000 plus. The heady initial success has made TKM think of the future with robust confidence. By 2010, TKM wants to make and sell one million vehicles per year and garner one-third share of the Indian market. The firm is planning to introduce a wide range of vehicle—a sub-compact, a sedan, a luxury car and a new multi-utility vehicle to replace Qualis. A significant percentage of the vehicles will be exported. But Toyota is not as lucky in China. Its strategy of ‘late entry’ in China seems to have back fired. In 2005, it sold just 1,83,000 cars in China, the fastest growing auto market in the world. Toyota ranks ninth in the market, far behind Volkswagen, General Motors, Hyundai and Honda. Toyota delayed producing cars in China until 2002, when it entered a joint venture with a local company, the First Auto Works Group (FAW). The first car manufactured by Toyota-FAW, the Vios, failed to attract much of a market, as, despite its unremarkable design, it was three times as expensive as most cars sold in China. Late start was not the only problem. There were other lapses too. Toyota assumed the Chinese market would be similar to the Japanese market. But Chinese market, in reality, resembled the American market. Sales personnel in Japan are paid salaries. They succeeded in building a loyal clientele for Toyota by providing first-class service to them. Likewise, most Japanese auto dealers sell a single brand, thereby ensuring their loyalty to it. Japan is a relatively a well-knit country with an ethnically homogeneous population. Accordingly, Toyota used nationwide advertising to market its products in its home country. But China is different. Sales people are paid commissions and most dealers sell multiple brands. Obviously, loyalty plays little role in motivating either the sales staff or the dealers, who will ignore a slow selling product should a more profitable one turn up. Besides, China is a large, diverse country. A standardised ad campaign will not do. Luckily, Toyota is learning its lessons. Competition in the Chinese market is tough, and Toyota’s success in reaching its goal of selling a million cars a year, by 2010, is uncertain. But, its chances are brighter as the company is able to transfer lessons learned in the American market to its operations in China.


1. Why has the ‘late corner’s strategy’ of Toyota failed in China, though it succeeded in India?

The main reasons of fail in China and success in India of Toyota are, in India there were no competitors except Telco’s Sumo; however, in China there were huge competitions to race. In addition, the new product of Toyota-FAW, the Vios failed to sustain in market due to its unremarkable design and excessive, i.e. three times extra other cars sold in China.

The Toyota-Qualis in India had no competition. It has large space with maximum seating capacity and good quality that its competitor Sumo. That’s why, the late entrant in India succeeded. At the end of 2001, Qualis had sold over 25,000 units and by 2010, it wants to build and sell one million vehicles per year. 2. Why has Toyota failed to capture the Chinese market? Why is it trailing behind its rivals?

The reasons of Toyota’s falling to capture the Chinese market are very clear; Toyota thought the Chinese market would be similar to Japanese market, however it be similar to the American market. Japanese marketers are dedicated to a single product; they all are salaried. Japanese are well-knitted with a homogenous consideration; proved by delivering first-class results to their proprietors. In the other case, Chinese sales people are totally commission oriented. The dealers or sales personnel can be motivated by any proprietor, who commits to pay high commissions. As, there is no salary system, people are not dedicated to a single product. In addition, China is a large country with miscellaneous thoughts and ideas; where it was impossible to capture or make a harmonized marketing with everyone.


Whirlpool is an American brand alright, but has succeeded in empowering the Indian housewife with just the tools she would have designed for herself. A washing machine that doesn’t expect her to get ‘ready for the show’ (Videocon’s old jingle), nor adapt her plumbing, power supply, dress sense, values, attitudes and lifestyle to suit American standards. That, in short, is the reason that Whirlpool White Magic, in just three years since its launch in 1999, has become the choice of the discerning Indian housewife. Also worth noting is how quickly the brand’s sound mnemonic, ‘Whirlpool, Whirlpool’, has established itself.

Whiteboard beginning

As a company, the US-based white goods major Whirlpool had entered India in 1989, in a joint venture with the TVS group. Videocon, which had pioneered washing machines in India, was the market leader with its range of low-priced ‘washers’ (spinning tubs) and semi-automatic machines, which required manual supervision and some labour. The brand’s TV commercial, created by Pune-based SJ Advertising, has evoked considerable interest with its jingle (‘It washes, it rinses, it even dries your clothes, in just a few minutes…and you’re ready for the show’). IFB-Bosch’s front-loading, fully automatic machines, which could be programmed and left to do their job, were the labour-free option. But they were considered expensive and unsuited to Indian conditions. So Videocon faced competition from me-too machines such as BPL-Sanyo’s. TVS Whirlpool was something of an also-ran. The market’s sophistication started rising in the 1990s and there was a growing opportunity in the price-performance gap between expensive automatics and laborious semi-automatics. In 1995, Whirlpool gained a majority control of TVS Whirlpool, which was then renamed Whirlpool Washing Machines Ltd (WMML). Meanwhile, the parent bought Kelvinator of India, and merged the refrigerator business in 1996 with WMML to create Whirlpool of India (WOI), to market both fridges and washing machines. Whirlpool’s ‘Flexigerator’ fridge hit the market in 1997. Two years later, WOI launched its star White Magic range of washing machines. Whitemagic was late to the market, but WOI converted this to a ‘knowledge advantage’ by using the 1990s to study the Indian market intensely, through qualitative and quantitative market research (MR) tools, with the help of IMRB and MBL India. The research team delved deep into the psyche of the Indian housewife, her habits, her attitude towards life, her schedule, her every day concerns and most importantly, her innate ‘laundry wisdom’. If Ashok Bhasin, vice-president marketing, WOI, was keen on understanding the psychodynamics of Indian clothes washing, it was because of his belief that people’s attitudes and perceptions of categories and brands are formed against the backdrop of their bigger attitudes in life, which could be shaped by broader trends. It was intuitive, to begin with, that the housewife wanted to gain direct control over crucial household operations. It was found that clothes washing was the daily activity for the Indian housewife, whether it was done personally, by a maid, or by a machine. The key finding, however, was the pride in self-done washing. To the CEO of the Indian household, there was no displacing the hand wash as the best on quality. And quality was to be judged in terms of ‘whiteness’. Other issues concerned water consumption, quantity of detergent used, and fabric care—also something optimized best by herself. A thorough wash, done with gentle agility, was what the magic was all about. That was the break-through insight used by Whirlpool for the design of all its washing machines, which adopted a ‘1-2, 1-2 Hand Wash Agitator System’ to mimic the preferred handwash technique. With a consumer so particular about washing, one could expect her to be value-conscious on other aspects too. Sure enough, WOI found the housewife willing to pay a premium for a product designed the way she wanted it. Even for a fully automatic, she wanted a top-loader; this way, she doesn’t fear clothes getting trapped in if the power fails, and retains the ability to lift the shutter to take clothes out (or add to the wash) even while the machine is in the midst of its job. The target consumer, defined psychographically as the Turning Modernist (TM), was decided upon only after the initial MR exercise was concluded. This was also the stage at which the unique selling proposition (USP)—‘whitest white’—was thrashed out. WOI first launched a fully automatic machine, with the hand-wash agitator. Then came the deluxe model with a ‘hot wash’ function. The product took off well, but WOI felt that a large chunk of the TM segment was also budget-bound. And was quite okay with having to supervise the machine. This consumer’s identity as a ‘home-maker’ was important to her, an insight that Whirlpool was using for the brand overall, in every product category. So WOI launched a semi-automatic washing machine, with ‘Agisoak’ as a catchword to justify a 10—15 per cent premium over other brand’s semi-automatics available in India. The advertising, WOI was clear, had to flow from the same stream of reasoning. It had to be responsive, caring, modern, stylish, and warm, and had to portray the victory of the Homemaker. FCB-Ulka, which had bagged Whirlpool’s account in March 1997 from contract (in a global alignment shift), worked with WOI to coin the sub-brand Whitemagic, to break into consumer mindspace with the whiteness proposition. The launch commercial on TV, in August 1999, scored a big success with its ‘Whirlpool, Whirlpool’ jingle…and a mother’s fantasy of her daughter’s clothes wowing others. A product demonstration sequence took the ‘1-2, 1-2’ message home, reassuring the consumer that the wash would be just as good as that of her own hand. The net benefit, of course, was an unharried home life.

Second Wave

Sadly, the Indian market for washing machines has been in recession for the past two years, with overall volumes declining. This makes it a fight for market share, with the odds stacked against premium players. Even though Whirlpool has sought to nudge the market’s value perception upwards, Videocon remains the largest selling brand in volume terms with its competitively priced machines. Washers have been displaced by semi-automatics, which are now the market’s mainstay (in the Rs 7,000-12,000 price range). In fact, these account for three-fourths of the 1.2 million units the Indian market sold in 2000. With a share of 17 per cent, Whirlpool is No. 2 in this voluminous segment. Whirlpool’s bigger success has been in the fully automatic segment (Rs 12,000-36,000 range). This is smaller with sales of 177,600 units in 2000, but is predicted to become the dominant one as Indian GDP per head reaches for the $1,000 mark. With a 26 per cent share, Whirlpool has attained leadership of this segment. That places WOI at the appropriate juncture to plot the value curve to be ascended over the new decade. According to IMRB data, Whirlpool finds itself in the consideration set of 54 per cent of all prospective washing machine buyers, and has an ad recall of close to 85 per cent. This indicates the medium-term potential of Whitemagic, a Rs20.5 crore on a turnover of Rs1,042.8 crore, one-fifth of which was on account of washing machines. The innovations continue. Recently, Whirlpool has launched semi-automatic machines with ‘hot wash’. The brand’s ‘magic’ isn’t showing signs of wearing off either. The current ‘mummy’s magic’ campaign on TV is trying to sell Whitemagic as a competent machine even for heavy duty washing such as ketchup stains on a white tablecloth. The Homemaker, of course, remains the focus of attention. And she remains as vivacious, unruffled, and in control as ever. The attitude: you can sling the muckiest of stuff on to white cloth, but sparkling white is what it remains for its her hand that’ll work the magic, with a little help from some friends… such as Whirlpool.


1. What product strategy did WOI adopt? And why? Global standardisation? Local customisaton?

Whirlpool of India (WOI) adopted ‘marketing mix strategy’ in India to promote and spread the awareness of washing machine and earn international stature in household merchandising. At first, Whirlpool merged with TVS India in the year 1995; and renamed as Whirlpool Washing Machines Ltd. (WMML). In the meantime, Kelvinator of India merged to market both fridges and washing machines with a name as Whirlpool of India (WOI). WOI was late to Indian market; however the ‘knowledge advantage’ concept through qualitative and quantitative market research, delved deep into the psyche of Indian housewives.

The execution of global standardization; such as, global product image and technology, meeting the needs of global customers, promoting a global brand, designing and monitoring the market mix concept etc. In addition, the local customization endeavor by WOI to accumulate with various concepts such as, white-magic, hot-wash, and mummy’s magic etc. won the Indian market, even in the recession periods.

2. What pricing strategy did WOI follow? What, according to you, could have been the appropriate

WOI followed the ‘market based pricing’ strategy in India; which is a combination of cost, competition, demand, and consumer behavior. Developing countries as India are marginal suppliers of goods in most markets; they hardly have market shares large enough to influence prices in international markets. Hence, the exporters in developing countries are generally price followers rather than price setters. At the time of recession in India for washing machines, WOI attained leadership position with a share of 26%.

3. What lessons can other white goods manufacturers learn from WOI?

The other white goods manufacturers must learn the ‘market mix strategy’ from WOI. The international marketing would involve, identifying the needs of customers and taking marketing mix decisions related to product, price, distribution and communication, keeping in view the diverse consumer and market behavior across different countries on one hand, firms’ goals towards globalization on the other; penetrating into international markets using various modes of entry; taking decisions in view of dynamic international marketing environment.

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