Company Description: Belkin,
a privately held company founded in California in 1983, is the recognised
global leader in connectivity solutions. Since our inception in 1983, Belkin
has experienced an amazing 25 consecutive years of dramatic growth. It’s
diverse and far-reaching product mix includes award-winning innovations for
easy-to-use networking solutions, accessories for iPod players, and innovations
from laptop@home line.
You are a gaming person,
especially since you were associated with Microsoft Xbox. How has it been in
Belkins, is it still as exciting for you?
Well, first off all I’d say it’s fun. It’s not at all
serious. And yes, if you look at video gaming as an industry, it’s at the cusp
of youth, technology and entertainment converging at one point. Essentially,
it’s about consumer lifestyle, about what we like doing, it’s about technology,
extremely high-end cutting technology and it’s also about entertainment. It’s a
clear confluence of that. Belkin is about products that enhance your digital
lifestyle whether it’s clearly in the personality space where you know it could
be as simplistically as what kind of case you have on your iphone or in your
ipad or your ipod, different colours, shapes, sizes, textures, designs or it
could be as simplistically as what your wifi network is like. If you look at Belkin from a work
perspective, for me the transition, has actually been pretty seamless and it’s
a lot of fun.
Since Belkin is a US-based
company how close are you to your parent company in terms of introducing
products for the Indian market?
Extremely close. Just as in any multinational
organisation, the global headquarters is where all the product innovation and
development happens, all R&D and driving of consumer insights of the global
level because we are a global brand. if you look at our CEO’s top 10
priorities, winning in India and China together is the number 2 priority
globally. So if we are that serious and high-up on the agenda of the company
then obviously we have quite a say in terms of what the needs, aspirations,
desires and wants of an Indian consumer are and how we can tailor our products
What share does India have
in Belkin’s global operations?
Belkin India contributes approximately 2-3 pc of the
global business. But we got there in two years. As we started operations in
February 2009, we are now 2 years and five months. The Indian business in
itself is growing at a break neck speed of more than a cumulative 100 pc plus
CAGR. We are growing rapidly but the aspiration is that the Asia Pacific
region, within Asia Pacific India and China forming a lion’s share of that pie,
will become our largest region, even bigger than the US in the next 4-5 years. In
India it is to be a 10 billion dollar business in the next 3 yrs.
How close is Belkin to
Apple, especially since your company makes a lot of accessories for Apple
Very close, we are the world’s largest accessory maker
for iphone, ipad, ipod and itouch. We have a very strong relationship with
them. We work very closely with them at a global level. The product design,
development and research is done in the US, and then its contract manufactured
around the world, mostly China, Veitnam and Japan.
What about the competition,
both from rival brands and the grey market?
The competition comes to us from two areas. One is
competition from rival brands and that is business as usual. Sometimes you win,
sometimes you lose. You can’t lose sleep over that. You can’t focus on that and
get paranoid about it. I never focus on competition-- that is my mantra. I
focus on how I can become better and let the competition figure out how they
can do what they want to do. In the end if I focus on how I can become better,
rather than focus my energy on what they are doing and be in reactive mode,
that is not the culture I believe or espouse. The second area is, with the duty
structure having been rationalised, it is economically not viable for a grey
marketers to take so much risk to import and sell. Thus competition from these
two areas is not a big threat. The real threat is counterfeit. That’s where you
need to then really get serious and you need to work with the law and tackle
What are the company’s acceptance
levels with its revolutionary easy-to-use networking solutions?
you look at wireless network, very simplistically it means being able to access
the internet on any device that you have, it could be a phone, tablet, pc or
TV-- wirelessly. Belkin focuses on the consumer, small office and home side of
it. We are not in the enterprise class piece at all. Belkin by DNA is mostly a
consumer organisation. We also do the structure cabling for the enterprise
site, which is a large part of our business as well. But that is a specific
area we focus on within the enterprise space. As for all our other businesses,
we are a B2C company. So therefore our networking solutions are tailored for
What is the spread of
Belkin in India? Where is the maximum rush coming from in terms of demand for
Belkin products are sold across 244 Indian cities. It’s not just confined to
big cities. If you look at product categories, Belkin operates today in India
in seven distinct product categories. These include wireless networking, laptop
top accessories and mobility business i.e. products that surround the mobile
phone. Then we have our audio-video cable business, our structured cabling
business, then our sixth business is surge and power protection and the last is
conserve, which is a new category that we have just launched. Belkins’ conserve
product range is based on the premise that you do not have to change your
consumption lifestyle but by using Belkin conserve products, while maintaining
your consumption lifestyle you can still be kinder and much more contributory
to saving the environment and emitting less carbon dioxide.
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