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Japanese cutlery maker Kai group plans big for Indian market

Japan based Kai group which makes cutlery-related products, has opened its first retail outlet in India and has aggressive growth plans. Rajesh Pandya, Managing Director, Kai manufacturing India sheds light on same.

Tags: Kai, Japanese, Gillette, Select CITYWALK,

BY Shipra Srivastava  |  October 25, 2017  |  comments ( 0 )  | 

Rajesh Pandya

Kindly shed light on your Indian presence?

Just to give you a background KAI as a company is 100 year old Japanese company and we have established our self quite recently in India as a wholly owned subsidiary. Presently, we have 30,000 sq.ft. manufacturing plant located in Neemrana, Rajasthan . It was inaugurated in November last year. And, we launched the brand in the month of May this year.

Our initial plan is to go top four states in India including Punjab , Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and NCR. Thereafter, we are looking to expand other parts of the country in a phased manner. Globally, por product repository includes 10,000 products. However, we have started with selected categories in India including household (knives), beauty care (razors and nail clips). In terms of pricing we cover masses starting from Rs 20 to high end premium products priced above Rs 40,000.

What kind of distribution is planned for introduced range? Do you also operate via your exclusive store?

As far as distribution structure is concerned, we are focused towards general trade. We aim to reach at least 50,000 outlets via this model within the span of next six months. We will have local distributors who would reach out to these ‘kiranana’ stores.  Although, we are also in talks with modern trade as well, other than this, we are present online.

In terms of exclusive distribution, we also have a small outlet at Select CITYWALK mall in New Delhi. Spread across 250 sq.ft., this is kind of antenna shop for us. We have placed 600 SKUs priced between Rs100 to Rs35,000 in this shop.  We plan to have four-five such shops by 2022.

Kitchen and wellness are very competitive categories in India. Why did you choose to foray with highly competitive categories though you have a  vast product range? Is this a water testing exercise for you?

We cannot bring 10,000 products over night. It will take a while in introducing the entire range. We have come here with ten years plan in hand. Our range is very innovative, for example, bikini razor. We sold out of this product within 15 days of opening shop. Gillette is trying to do the same with Venus. There is a huge potential in this category.  Moreover, let’s take the example of nail clipper; it is not at all organized category in Indian market today there is a hardly any organized brand operating in this category.

Market positioning of Gillette is very strong. How you plan to compete with them as you are comparatively new to them?

Off course we all have competition to some brand or other but all they have their respective market share. Kai is a house hold name in Japan; we are already there in six countries. India is the seventh country that we have forayed. Whether we are competitive with the existing competition only the time will tell! We are not scared of failure; our initial results are extremely encouraging. In fact, I am proud to announce that within one month of operations we have sold goods worth Rs.10 lakh from our shop at Select CITYWALK.

So what are the plans from here?

We have already invested over Rs.100 cr. We are committed to pump-in more as and when required. We would expand our existing categories here. For example, in nail clipper category we cover birth to death. We have separate products for child, adult and old age people. We also have nail clipper with magnifying glasses with LED. We will launch all these products in the time to come.

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