Economic Times: September, 2016
New Delhi: Harman International, the maker of JBL and Harman Kardon audio systems, expects to triple its India business in the next three years, CEO Dinesh Paliwal told ET in an exclusive interaction.
Harman counts companies such as Audi, Lexus, Subaru and Toyota among its customers and gets its maximum business from connected cars, including navigation and safety systems. It has seen revenue growth in emerging markets in the last five years, and continues to invest heavily in India and China. "China now is $800-million business (for Harman)...but India is not quarter billion yet. India should have been quarter billion. Now when I look back, in hindsight I see that maybe the infrastructure was not ready, maybe the government reforms were not in place," Paliwal said, adding that tripling its India business was a very "real" challenge.
That India is an important market and centre for the company is evident from the fact that out of nearly 29,000 strong workforce worldwide, nearly 9,000 people are based in India — its largest employee base in the world. Harman also saw the largest number of its patents being filed from India last year. The company also recently opened a "centre of competence" for its lifestyle audio division in Bengaluru. The lifestyle audio division designs, manufactures and markets car audio systems in the mid-to high-end range, and accounted for over $2 billion in sales last year. In India, it counts Tata Motors, PVR cinemas, INOX cinemas, All India Radio, and Tirupati Airport Gurgaon Metro as customers.
Paliwal, however, stressed that in spite of being world renowned for its lifestyle audio and connected car systems, the company sees opportunities in several other areas — audio, video, lighting and automation — for a large venue.