Headquartered in Kathmandu, the Chaudhary Group – Nepal’s first and, to date, only billion-dollar, multinational company – offers goods and services across 16 business verticals, including financial services, hotels and resorts, education, and electronics.
The Group’s Managing Director, Nirvana Chaudhary, joined the electronics division in 2001 as an assistant sales manager, and he has remained with the company his great-grandfather founded ever since.
The division came into existence 36 years ago, assembling radio and audio products for National Panasonic. When Nirvana arrived, it was assembling products for only one brand: LG (formerly known as Goldstar). But the Group realised that having its own brand could offer a high level of brand equity, and so the CG brand was launched in 2005.
Now, the company assembles products for nine brands, including LG and CG as well as Kelvinator and Godrej. It has established a large after-sales network, with a 40% market share, and has also started to expand into electronics retail.
The CG brand came about in response to a gap in the market. “Initially, we were only doing brands that sold to consumers in higher-income brackets,” Nirvana explains. The company wanted to appeal to another segment: the mid-range market. “There was a huge influx of Chinese goods coming into Nepal. What the consumers wanted was a trusted brand. We set up R&D facilities in Hong Kong and Shenzhen, basing a team there, and refusing to compromise on quality.
We managed to bring these products into Nepal in a completely different segment of income stream, which would not compete with the LGs and the Toshibas, but with the Chinese brands and other brands competitive in that market at that time.” Ultimately, Nirvana says, the goal at Chaudhary Group was, and is, to “provide customers with A to Z products at different price tags”.
Presently, “our company is in the process of launching our own telecom operation; we are going to be focusing on launching our own range of handsets as well. We’ve joined forces with one of the world’s leading telecommunications companies, to manufacture our handsets. We continue to explore the idea of partnering with other leading brands, looking to bring them into Nepal.”
“We continue to explore the idea of partnering with other leading brands, looking to bring them into Nepal.”
With success behind it, the Group wants to ensure that plenty more lies ahead. Most importantly, it is committed to continually upgrading both the quality and the range of products on offer. “We should never compromise on the quality of the product,” Nirvana says. “Electronics is such an intimate sector: people are directly interacting with a large range of products at a rapidly increasing frequency. When you produce a TV, you’ve got to be able to make sure that the consumer expense is worth it. That’s one thing we don’t compromise on.”
He identifies an integral element of success for an electronics company, which involves collaborating with the brands that are showing strong signs of growth in the Nepalese market, incorporating them into the Chaudhary Group network, and focusing on the products that show promising signs of market longevity.
There is also a focus on ensuring that the Group’s sales network is well-educated and well-informed so representatives can pass on the correct details to consumers in the market for home entertainment products and small appliances.
“With 17 years of experience in the Group,” Nirvana notes, “I’m in a position to be able to make sure that we have the right team in place. I’m working on aspects of business development and growth, and developing partnerships, as well as overseeing innovative launches like our online retail platform. We have started 20 electronics retail chains and have now launched an ecommerce platform. These are the things that I am currently focusing on, rather than the day-to-day sales and marketing.”
One of the electronics division’s main strengths is its intimate knowledge of the Nepalese electronics market. “We understand the products that work in Nepal,” Nirvana stresses, “and we believe in providing world-class products at budget prices, and in a local context.”
With its extensive reach, the Chaudhary Group seems to have become a part of the fabric of Nepalese daily life, and will surely continue to provide people in the country with quality services for many years to come.