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Published on : Tuesday, March 21, 2017
India is often regarded as the new land of business opportunity. More than 140 business people attended a seminar on “Access to Retail Market in India” with speaker Rakesh Biyani, the Joint Managing Director of Future Retail Ltd. & co-founder of Future Group. The seminar was organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) on 14 March, to learn more about India’s retail market and related business opportunities and challenges.
Huge growth potential
Mr Biyani, whose family founded Future Group 25 years ago, said the company is now one of the largest retail groups in India, with 5,200 retail outlets including department stores and specialty stores in more than 240 cities, covering consumer goods including food, fashion and cosmetics. The Group reported a turnover of US$3.4 billion in 2016 and expects this to reach US$15 billion in the next five years.
Hong Kong + India = Ideal partnership
Mr Biyani projects the amount of value-added products the company will import in the next five years will rise by nearly 200 per cent. “We have set a target to grow to $15 billion from $3.4 billion in this next 5 years because we cater to this customer base (aspirational). That’s where the larger opportunity is.”
And he sees Hong Kong as the ideal business partner for his company to achieve its goals, as well as for retail companies across India.
“Hong Kong typically tends to be trendier and more quality-oriented,” he said. “Hong Kong now is really the place for sourcing entry level, good priced products in the better and best category, that’s where Hong Kong has the opportunity and we are now very keen to expand our share of those products. And we think we can work with Hong Kong manufacturers.”
As for the top trading categories for his company, Mr Biyani identified fashion, food and home decoration. “Clearly in fashion footwear and accessory, there’s a lot we can work together with designers and companies out here (Hong Kong) and look at how to get the latest trend, cut the lead time around that and take it back to India.”
In terms of home improvement and decoration, he said that Hong Kong had much in common with cities in India, with people in both places living in smaller homes.