There is a Huge Opportunity in Indian Decor Industry says Mr Thomas Yi, Head of Operations Asia, CBA, AG, Switzerland

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Korea Based CBA Eyes Huge Opportunity in Indian Decor Industry

The decor industry in India is rapidly growing with rapid economical development and increasing prosperity of people of the nation. The increasing awareness about these products and its applications among people has also boost the demand of diverse range of decor products. As of now the demand is coming from both the high end to low end segments in the country. The diversity of demands has attracted Korea based CBA AG, the company which is a facilitator of diverse range of decor products such as charcoal, flooring, panelling etc having collaboration with a number of manufacturing establishments based at Korea. CBA’s India operation is headed by Heten Oza who has been closely working with the industry fraternity across pan India since the last 25 years. In a one 2 one interaction with the Ply Reporter, Mr Thomas Yi, Head of Operations Asia, CBA (Cross Border Associates) AG, Switzerland talked about their objective, strengths and initiatives for their offerings in India. Here is snapshot of the conversation.

"According to my observation India will be the biggest economy by 2030 however as of now it is developing rapidly. I have never seen such a diverse market in  terms of product offering. So, India needs diverse range from high price to low price that is not happening in any country around the world."

Q. Which kind of products are you offering in India?

A. Our company name is CBA AG in which CBA represents Cross Border Associates. We saw lot of development in India in terms of wall decor and coverings, face panel, charcoal. Some of the imported highlighters like face panel in charcoal is developing as a highlighter. We would like to bring in more such products. At the moment we are offering Charcoal panels. CBA AG is not manufacturers, in a way we are facilitator of Charcoal. We have an exclusive arrangement with the Korean factories. We also are offering LVT (Luxury Vinyl Tiles)
flooring from 2mm to 5mm with interlocking, loose layer and different format planks, tiles etc. We have such a vast and in-depth network in Korea, we can actually go with any of the manufacturers to the press and design specifications.

Heten Oza has been closely working with the industry fraternity across pan India since the last 25 years.

Q. How do you create designs, because you are not manufacturers?

A. Of course, we do not create designs. We are a consulting facilitator and give them feedback. We had most of the existing importers’ catalogue. We also maintained data for that and core of those catalogues we have in our position that is given to designers. We don’t have designers in hand as well but we consult them. We present those catalogues before customers and let them choose their choice, and if required, customise the product design according to the customer’s choice.

Q. Many companies are offering Charcoal panels in India, so what is the difference between their’s and your offerings?

A. The product has been started from Korea. In terms of actual products and its designs, these are being driven by people. They want to see new designs; however we can work on that with them in plant at Korea. So we are diverse in designs and connect price wise also as we are subsidised in pricing and connect with the market as well. However 8x2 ft has been very mutual market so less of margin to be made but 8x4, still there is some margins so importers have right kind of future and we are offering 8x4 ft also.

CBA AG is not manufacturers, in a way they are facilitator and have an exclusive arrangement with the Korean factories. They are offering LVT (Luxury Vinyl Tiles) flooring from 2mm to
5mm with interlocking, loose layer and different format planks, tiles etc. They have a vast and in-depth network in Korea, and can actually go with any of the manufacturers to the press and design specifications.

Q. Are you promoting your own brand also?

A. We do not promote brand, but products. I would say people those have the capacity can distribute the product. So, we have three things in mind for selecting them that they have to have their own designs, distribution channels, and good financial background.

Q. What is the quantity limitation for the order to be placed and what would be the selling model?

A. It doesn’t make scenes to import less than a container but the design will be customised. Our selling model will be to work with the importers so that would be not faster or slower within. This is all logic, there is no magic to sell the product when the market is already to accept the product.

Q. There is tough competition in terms of price, so is it sustainable, if yes, how long can it be?

A. I think it’s like test, because I have seen lot of Charcoal applications not only in the first grade of the city but also the second grade as well. I think there would be pool effect in terms of the growth in tire three and fourth cities in the country. When it will reach into fourth tire of city the scenario would be different.

Q. How do you promote your company in India market?

A. We don’t really have to promote aggressively because we are targeting certain number of importers only. We have exhibited in India and meeting such people. For India operation we have gentlemen named Heten Oza to look after. Charcoal is not new, it is being sold by dealers and distributors, specifiers had to do initially but not now. Charcoal is being seen many of the places here. A lot of plank has come but Charcoal is a much specified driven market. I am operating in range of products. At the moment we just facilitate.

Q. How much business you are expecting from India in coming year?

A. Just in terms of Charcoal, we believe on an average Korean and Chinese are delivering nearly 24 containers a month. The second will be PETG (PET Gloss). It is a coating on other technologically material not PVC or Polycarbonate. Its thickness will be 1.2mm (8x4). In India it is in initial stage due to lack of supply of materials. It is being picked up because its surface is so smooth. At the moment India demands is getting more for kitchen cabinets due to its colours and smooth surfaces. We understand the difficulty as well as the culture of both Korea and India so we are definitely able to facilitate for the growth of both of them.

Q. How do you see India market?

A. India obviously is developing country having 7% to 9% economic growth. According to my observation India will be the biggest economy by 2030 however as of now it is developing rapidly. I have never seen such a diverse market in terms of product offering. So, India needs diverse range from high price to low price that is not happening in any country around the world. The products available in India are from China, Germany, USA, and what we are trying to do is to deliver Korean products. Price wise Korean products are reasonably expensive than Chinese, however it is very modern and reasonable against European and Japanese products, but the quality is matching to Japanese and very less to European.

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