Colors of Success
Category: Entrepreneurs By : Aastha Saboo Read : 222 Date : Thursday, May 04, 2017 - 09:43:24




Ahmad Zamroni / Forbes Indonesia

The $800 million Indonesian paint industry has seen rapid growth in the last few years, yet it remains a fragmented market, with the largest firm holding only 17% share. These conditions have attracted international paint firms. One of them is India’s largest paint company, Asian Paints, with $260 million profits on $2.4 billion annual revenues and operations in 18 countries outside India. Yet Indonesia is a key market for the firm, which set up operations here in 2014 by establishing its largest manufacturing plant in Karawang—from scratch—outside India, with a 24,550-tonne capacity that will open in May. The total investment is about $140 million.

Rahul Bhatnagar, 45, is president director of PT Asian Paints Indonesia. “This market is underutilized and underpenetrated,” he says. “While the Indonesian people and the government were very friendly, the task of establishing the Asian Paints brand in a new country was not easy.” Indonesia is a priority for Asian Paints, although at the moment it holds less than 5% of the market. Asian Paints would like Indonesia to become one of its top three markets worldwide in the next few years. Rahul was a part of an Asian Paints team that did a detailed evaluation of emerging markets, including Indonesia, in early 2014.

To build market share, the company started doing extensive customer engagement exercises such as holding half-day training programs to teach end-users such as painters and contractors on the different aspects of the products and proper painting practices. They have currently covered more than 30 cities across Java and Sumatra in a span of eight months, holding sessions with 4,000 painters. The firm plans on getting 11,000 retailers in the short-term and 30,000 in the long-term.

“We needed to develop products from scratch for Indonesia. We also realized that products used here cannot be used anywhere else,” says Rahul. “We will use technology to create an edge and provide services at a cheaper price.” At the moment, the Indonesian operations is selling only decorative paints, but later on would like to add industrial paints and related products.  

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