Exclusive Interview with Ravi Khemani, branch head at RP tech India and currently heading the Karnataka branch. A true leader and Go-Getter, channel relationship is the focal point of his business strategy. RP tech India has gained a major market share under his dynamic leadership and has emerged as the most trusted value added distributor in the south region.
Kindly through light on the current IT hardware business scenario in Karnataka and rest of South India?
Being the technology hub in India, Karnataka is the biggest consumer of IT and ITeS. IT is also home to MNCs and Startups. Hence, the demand for IT hardware is huge in the State. The average life of any IT infrastructure is maximum 5 years and after that needs upgradation or replacement. Thus, the hardware business is growing at a consistent growth rate.
How do you see the surge in PC, Component and Peripheral business post GST in the State? Apart from traditional IT, what are the booming business segments in the State?
Post GST implementation we observed a sudden surge in the computer hardware demand in Karnataka. This is mainly because of Government’s mandate for online filing. The demand was largely from Startups and small businesses who required GST compliant IT hardware. This boosted the PC demand and simultaneously push the component and peripherals business. However, overall the component and the peripheral market has witness de-growth because of the growing popularity of branded PCs available in the online marketplaces at a very aggressive price point.
According to you what are the major challenges the industry is facing in the region in terms of growth and demand?
The traditional assembled PC business has majorly hit by the branded PCs and Smartphones. Today people use their smartphones for a variety of computing tasks such as internet surfing, online shopping, online banking and so on. So the need for PCs/Laptop remains limited only to serious computing and Gaming (extreme gaming). The shrinking PC demand has also shrunk the demand for components and peripherals resulting in thin margins, hence the traditional channel is finding it difficult to cope up with the situation.
According to you what key challenges partners face in terms of financing and thin margins? How they are coping with the rising dominance of E-Commerce?
The market is expanded with the entry of E-Commerce players, however, the huge price disparity by OLS has put the traditional channel in a flux. Today E-Commerce has eaten away a large chunk of share in the consumer space. The traditional channel is working on the very high cost of operation and on the other hand e-commerce is burning money. So channel is facing a lot of challenges in maintaining their business. There is a lot of pressure on Channel Partner’s margin. As a result the small scale channel partners are either moving out of business or switching to new business lines.
How has RP tech India created its stronghold in South over the years? Please highlight the key strengths of RP tech India in terms of channel ecosystem, reach and brand portfolio.
RP Tech India’s main strength is his Branch Network. We maintain a very strong product portfolio. Currently, we are majorly focussing on the introduction of new products, increasing the reach in the market. We also focus heavily on channel profitability. As we are known for our channel friendliness, we try to give max support to channel, so that they keep growing with us.
What is your business roadmap for the next financial year?
Our strategy is to introduce new technology in the market. Also, we want to become “one stop shop” for complete IT and mobile needs of Indian end users. Our plan for next year is to introduce multi products and increase the reach as maximum as possible. In the long run, our aspiration is to enter into the distribution of all technology products and not confined to IT and mobility.