Narendra Bansal, Chairman & Managing Director, Intex Technologies (India) Ltd., is a first-generation entrepreneur known for his irrefutable business acumen. He identified the high growth potential of IT hardware in India way back in the 1990s at a time when the manufacturing of IT products was a fledgling sector. Keeping India's evolving market scenario in mind, he incorporated Intex Technologies in 1996 with just one product - Ethernet card. With a strong vision and high focus, Narendra Bansal successfully established 'INTEX' as a leading brand in the market against a backdrop of stiff competition from various successfully established MNC brands. Under his leadership, Intex has received various awards from prominent industry bodies and forums for being a torchbearer of the IT industry. He is a chartered member of TiE (The Indus Entrepreneurs) and participates actively in various clubs including the Rotary Club.
Intex Technologies (India) Ltd, incorporated in 1996, is a leading Mobile Phones Company that has a strong presence in Consumer Durables & IT Accessories. Founded with the aim to improve people's quality of life, it focuses on technological innovation to provide the highest quality products at reasonable prices to consumers worldwide.
Replying to Anil Mascarenhas
, Narendra Bansal says, “The industry today is transitioning to 4G-LTE and Intex was among the first to foray into the 4G segment in 2015. Similarly, in 2015, we entered into the wearable segment with the launch of iRist, an android-based smart watch, first by an Indian company at the Mobile World Congress in Shanghai (China).”
You started as an IT product firm. How has your business evolved over the years?
Intex Technologies began its journey as an IT product company with a single product - Ethernet Card. As we began to expand in the IT and consumer durables segment, Intex started manufacturing multimedia speakers, DVD players, home theater solutions. Our phenomenal success in the speaker category made us a household name and a leader in the speaker’s category.
As the market dynamics changed swiftly post-2000, we saw the future technology converging to telecom and in 2007 forayed into the mobile handset industry, making Intex one of the first Indian players to enter the industry. In India, Intex has been recognized for its contribution in democratizing smartphones and bringing the smartphone experience to consumers across the entire price range. Intex Technologies expanded its consumer durables portfolio with the entry in LED TVs business in 2012 and surprised the market with its quality and pricing and is firmly on track to be a part of the leadership board in LED TVs. Beginning with a few thousand units which were sold annually in 2012, brand Intex, today, boasts a sale of a couple of lakh units per annum. LED TVs business has seen a growth of over 150% annually since inception.
What are the circumstances that led you to start this business and thereafter diversify?
I had a knack to sell. One doesn’t learn the art of selling at any school, it’s a craft one is born with. So when I visited a new city, I would take a city tour for two to three hours to feel the city, to know its vibrancy, its people and their needs. When I was in high school, cassettes were the in-thing. HMV cassettes were beyond a common man’s reach but there were many other local brands which were even cheaper than T-Series. That was the catch. I would also buy Sony cassettes to record songs which were in high-demand as well. Even if I sold one cassette, my fee was taken care of.
After graduating from the University of Delhi in 1986, I chose not to opt for the most predictable path - the one that led to the family business of grain trading in old Delhi's Naya Bazar. It didn't excite me. What did excite then was spotting the business opportunity. I was into picking up and delivering cordless phones. 30 years ago, the concept of pickup and delivery was missing. I opened a shop at Naya Bazar in the Chandni Chowk area of Delhi, put out classified ads in newspapers and assured potential consumers of a refund if they were not happy with the service. The business did work, but was not remunerative enough. So I flitted to the next opportunity - sale of floppy discs. This too didn't last long as the venture could not be scaled.
I then borrowed a Polaroid camera from a friend, went to the Birla Temple in the Capital, took pictures of the visitors and sold them in a key chain. That lasted for a few months. It was enough to survive but didn't have much potential for growth. The trials and errors continued till 1996, until I dipped into my savings of INR 20,000 and began selling Ethernet Cards under the brand name Intex and thereby incepted Intex Technologies, an IT Peripherals company based in Delhi.
With the vision, to leverage technology to improve the quality of lives, Intex Technologies was formed to bring innovative products (mobiles and consumer electronics) in every hand. We have been very successful as Intex has been recognized for its achievement in democratizing smart phones in India. Since its inception, Brand Intex has been positioned as a brand for all; a brand that provides class, style and innovation, at an affordable price tag to fulfill peoples’ unmatched aspirations.
When were you first introduced to the IT hardware industry?
I always loved technology and have understood its potential to transform lives. This was the reason for entering into the business of technology and later diversifying into the consumer tech industry so as to provide innovative products in every hand that will improve the quality of life.
My focus has been to get the best of technology at the most affordable price to make it accessible for the masses. With this vision and thought, since inception, Brand Intex has been positioned as a brand for all; a brand that provides class, style and innovative technology, at an affordable price tag to fulfill peoples’ unmatched aspirations.
Technology in these segments has been changing. How have you managed?
Being a domestic handset player, Intex has always kept pace with technological developments and market demands. The industry today, is transitioning to 4G-LTE and Intex was among the first to foray into the 4G segment in 2015. Similarly, in 2015, we entered into the wearable segment with the launch of iRist, an android-based smart watch, first by an Indian company at the Mobile World Congress in Shanghai (China).
As a consumer facing company, we have always focused on consumer satisfaction and maintaining a robust distribution and retail presence. To further strengthen our network, in 2015 Intex began opening exclusive branded stores - ‘Intex Smart World’ as experience zones for consumers. Currently, we have 90+ stores across the country covering 60+cities. This approach has enabled us to grow consistently and we are confident of continuing this trend.
Brief us on your financials.
Intex Technologies has witnessed accelerated growth at a CAGR of 82% over the past three financial years. Today, Intex is one of the leading mobile handset and consumer durables companies in India as per industry analysts. In the last 15 years, Intex Technologies’ revenue has grown manifold from Rs. 32 crore in 2001 to around Rs. 6200 crore in FY 2015-16.
This phenomenal growth has come on the back of innovative products, strong service & distribution strategy and aggressive marketing to connect with the target audience.
Are you looking at any diversification?
we have diversified from our major businesses, we had in 2015. We have entered into the sports management arena, having successfully bought Gujarat Lions IPL Team. With the craze of cricket, IPL has also be seen as a major platform to strengthen our brand identity and reach our consumers globally.
What is the revenue mix between IT hardware, mobile phones and the electronics manufacturing segment?
The revenue split between Mobile and CDIT is 85:15.
How did you go about outsourcing the manufacturing to countries like China and Taiwan. With the Make in India initiative, are companies seeing benefits on the ground?
The push given to domestic manufacturing will prove to be the growth engine for Indian economy and the Make in India campaign will be the key to achieving the objective of unleashing India’s manufacturing prowess. Two key impacts of this initiative are creation of jobs for the millions of Indian youth and reducing the huge imports of electronic goods, which is second to oil imports and has the potential to become the biggest import item for India. The industry expects the country to reduce its dependence on electronics imports by almost 15 percentage points to around 50 per cent by fiscal 2016-17.
We are associated with manufacturing in India since 2004, continuously increasing our capacity. The company is manufacturing about 2 million phones per month presently and currently we have 5 manufacturing units in India - one in Jammu, one in Baddi, Himachal Pradesh and three in Noida, Uttar Pradesh. The sixth and the largest manufacturing plant is coming up in Kasna - Greater Noida, a 20 lakh sq feet plant, where all the manufacturing capacity will be consolidated. This unit will have mobile manufacturing capacity of 35 million per annum.
To further consolidate, Intex has already begun the process for manufacturing components used in mobile phones and developing an entire ecosystem of ancillary units feeding the main unit. By mid 2016, up to 30-40% of components used in the production of mobile phones will be manufactured in India via Technical JVs. The target is to manufacture the complete unit of mobile phone including components in India in a year’s time.
In an age of digital disruption, how do you prioritise futuristic investment?
Being an Indian brand, we have always brought innovative products at competitive prices for all. Since inception, Intex has positioned itself as a brand that empowers masses with the latest technology at affordable price points. Working towards this, Intex has always kept pace with technological developments and market demands. The industry today, is transitioning to 4G-LTE and Intex was among the first to foray into 4G segment in 2015. Similarly, in 2015, we entered into the wearable segment with the launch of iRist, an android-based smart watch, first by an Indian company at the Mobile World Congress in Shanghai (China). Our aim is always to be present where the consumers are successfully catering to the needs of consumers across price segments.
Comment on your manufacturing facilities. What is the capacity and utilisation?
In line with Prime Minister’s Make in India policy, we are associated with manufacturing in India since 2001 continuously increasing the capacity. The company is manufacturing about 2 million phones per month presently and currently we have 5 manufacturing units in India - one in Jammu, one in Baddi, Himachal Pradesh and three in Noida, Uttar Pradesh. The sixth and the largest manufacturing plant is coming up in Kasna – Greater Noida, a 20 lakh sq feet plant, where all the manufacturing capacity will be consolidated. This unit will have mobile manufacturing capacity of 35 million per annum.
To further consolidate, Intex has already begun the process for manufacturing the components used in mobile phones and developing an entire ecosystem of ancillary units feeding the main unit. By mid of 2016, up to 30-40% of components used in the production of mobile phones will be manufactured in India via Technical JVs. The target is to manufacture the complete unit of mobile phone including components in India in a year’s time.
In Jammu, we have 51,000 sq ft unit manufacturing space for Computer Multimedia Speakers with a capacity of 1.8 million annually. In Baddi, we have 70,000 sq ft manufacturing space for Feature Phones, Mobile Battery and LED TVs. In Noida - Unit 1, our annual capacity is 15 Million mobiles. In Noida Unit - 2, we started operations in October 2015. The area is spread over 100,000 sq ft and has capacity to manufacture 20 million smartphones per annum. In Noida - Unit 3, we have a capacity for 25 million chargers & batteries.
Intex has a state-of-the-art Research and Development Center in New Delhi and China, which enables the company to be a pioneer of technology across categories of business.
What are your capex plans? How would they be funded?
Our vision is to be a globally respected company. Intex Technologies is committed to inspire its communities by leveraging three key strengths - New Technology, Innovative Products and Creative Solutions. As we build on our previous accomplishments, we look forward to exploring new territories. We truly aspire to be a leader in innovative technology. We plan to invest around Rs 500 cr in the next few years.
Brief us about your shareholding pattern. Any plans to sell stake?
Presently, the shareholding is held by me and my family. We have no plans presently to sell shares.
When do you plan an IPO?
Presently, there are no active plans and plans if any shall be notified at an appropriate time.
What is your message to entrepreneurs?
Having a great idea, and putting a team together to implement is the first step towards creating a successful business venture. While finding a new and unique idea is rare, the ability to successfully execute an idea is what differentiates a dreamer from a leader. ‘Whenever I meet a new person, I always try to find out the strengths or the new things from him/her and implement as best suited to me.’ Veteran leaders like Kumar Mangalam Birla, Jamsetji Tata, N. R. Narayana Murthy and many more inspire us to achieve more than our might. I have always lived by the motto, 'Failure is not an option’ and have continued to strive with an unwavering commitment to the mission.