Danish firm eyes Indian market with Bluetooth headsets

By Fakir Balaji


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Bangalore : A Copenhagen-based global manufacturer of Bluetooth headsets under the Jabra brand has set its sights on India for a greater share of the booming Indian market in mobile, office and enterprise segments.

Making a low-profile entry into the subcontinent two years ago with a slew of hands-free mobile headsets, GN A/S (Great Nordic), the $618 million Danish firm, is targeting the burgeoning contact centres, enterprise and office segments through a chain of 1,500 retail stores and distribution networks across India.

"As the world's largest manufacturer of wireless headsets for mobile, IP telephony, contact centres, office and music, our range of products across segments straddle all price points and offer users crystal clear voice clarity and new age ergonomics designs.

"With an innovative product range, we are upbeat on gaining soon higher mindshare and greater market share in India, which has surpassed China as the fastest growing market in telecom services and products worldwide," GN regional managing director Vincent Pena told IANS here.

To cash in on the record sales of mobile handsets and capitalise on the rapid growth of the IT-enabled services sector, including contact/data centres and business process outsourcing (BPO), GN has tied up with Salora International and Faxtel Systems for hard-selling its Bluetooth headsets in the retail and corporate segments.

The company has also roped in Innova Telecom and Avaya GlobalConnect for tapping the growing contact centre, enterprise and office segments with wireless corded headsets, hands-free solutions, mono and stereo headsets to maximise IP handsets and PC audio experience and durable solutions designed for fit and comfort and to protect hearing.

"Riding on the tech boom, India is emerging as a major hub for IT-enabled services. A recent study by Frost & Sullivan found the professional headset market has witnessed a 42 percent growth year-on-year (YoY) in fiscal 2005-06 and is projected to grow at a CAGR (compounded average growth rate) of 21 percent over the next five years due to the expansion, mergers and consolidation in the contact centre, enterprises and office," Pena disclosed.

The phenomenal sale of over seven million mobile handsets a month has triggered a great demand for Bluetooth headsets. With 30 percent of mobile users getting hooked to wireless products, the Indian market is projected to grow at 74 percent CAGR as against 48 percent in China and surpass the combined market size of the Australian continent by 2010.

Though GN has rolled out about 27 million headsets from its manufacturing facility at Xiamen in China last year for global markets, it sold about 500,000 units and is set to double the sales to one million units this year to have 25-30 percent market share.

According to IMS Research, the worldwide market for Bluetooth headsets was around 54 million in 2006 and is expected to be 68 million in 2007, 90 million in 2008 and 200 million by 2011. In value terms, it is estimated to be about $2.5 billion currently, growing by 17 percent YoY.

"The demand for Bluetooth enabling products is mainly driven by the changing busy lifestyle of Indian consumers, upward mobility, affordability and the desire to stay connected for higher productivity, efficiency and freedom while driving or commuting," Pena pointed out.

Bluetooth is a technical industry standard that facilitates communication between wireless devices such as mobile phones, PDAs (personal digital assistants) and handheld computers, and wireless enabled laptop or desktop computers and peripherals.

A single Bluetooth enabled wireless device is capable of making phone calls, synchronising data with desktop computers, sending and receiving faxes, and printing documents.

The emergence of the retail sector has opened up new avenues to promote the products and ramp up sales through retail formats and partners. Being tech savvy and gadget freaks, the next generation customers use mobiles, personal digital assitabnts (PDAs) and notebooks for music, voice and data.

"When service and content providers migrate to 3G once the spectrum is allotted in the near future, Bluetooth headsets and associated products will help a great deal in making optimal utilisation of time and resources," Pena said.