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It would be difficult to compete at the price point that China has...
Praveen Sinha talks about his view of the Make in India campaign and its impact on the e-commerce industry with Mary Christine Joy.
Jabong is one of the most reputed online retailers in India specializing in fashion and lifestyle products. It has remained successful in giving a tough competition to the big names of the industry in a short span of time. The site held an Alexa traffic ranking of 37 in the country, and a ComScore report stated that it held a ranking of 2nd in terms of traffic among the Indian e-commerce sites.
Pravaeen Sinha is one of the co-founders of Jabong and a well known name in the Indian e-commerce circle. He is a media friendly person, and well versed with the industry. He has completed his graduation from IIM Kolkatta and is popular for his innovative ideas.
Being an IIM Calcutta pass out, why did you opt to start up with a venture such as Jabong when you had ample of other opportunities on hand? Why did you find this area attractive?
I always had aspirations to start something of my own, and I realized that this is something that I want to do full time. I realized the opportunities in e-commerce, and its scope in multiple countries and across multiple products. Being in IIM Calcutta, I realized that online businesses are growing. When we started in 2011, the industry was at a starting stage, even in terms of fashion merchandising. Not all the brands were available online, and there was a huge potential for development in this sector.
What do you think about the Make in India campaign launched by PM Modi? Will it succeed?
It depends on the implementation of the campaign. The way the momentum has been built, I think the probability of success is higher. I am an optimistic and believe that yes it will be a success, but there are many factors to which it should not fall prey to, as in the past many plans were announced but were not concluded. This time we have a different view that this plan would be taken care of and will be implemented with the right spirit. So, if you ask me I will always hope that it becomes a grand success as there is a lot of action in that direction.
What are the strengths of the Indian manufacturing sector?
First of all, India is full of natural resources. Two would be that we are a country of the youth. India is filled with a population that can work and earn at this point of time. Of course, there are challenges in terms of potentials and opportunities, but we have a large working population that can fit with the productive cycle in the manufacturing industry. Third, I would say is the demand that already exists in the country, especially in the women's fashion sector. Lastly, the government willingness to support the manufacturing sector today is also the strength of the country.
Can India afford to go the China way?
I think there have been many instances where India has proved that if the right mind and right intentions come together, implementation has been easy and success has been achieved. For example, a campaign was launched to encourage the production of milk in India, and India was successful in achieving self sufficiency in milk production. Of course, it would be difficult to compete at the price point that China has and I am not sure if it would be doable or not, but there are a lot of other competitive advantages that India enjoys. India does not need to replicate China at all the places. The concentration should be on the manufacture of world class products of a global standard with some emphasis on the demand from the domestic market. If this happens, the products would be accepted all over the world without compromising a lot on the Indian market. At present, in order to reach up to the price expectations of the Indian market, we compromise on the global standards and quality, which should not be the case.
Since the Make in India campaign is largely concentrated on the manufacturing sector, do you suppose that it holds something attractive for the e-tailing sector in the country as well?
The e-tailing industry would be directly or indirectly benefitted by this campaign if it is a success, because if the manufacturing sector develops, it generates a need for platforms to make the manufactured product accessible to the market. I suppose e-commerce can be that platform. So if we have more products and on the supply side, we have created more sources, then the demand can be met easily.
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