Panasonic group to expand housing-related business in India

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
A view of Panasonic group’s wiring device plant in India, which began operation in April

Panasonic group is strengthening its housing business in India by increasing lineups, mainly of its kitchen unit.

As well, its new plant that produces materials for its kitchen lineup has begun operation earlier this year.

In India, the purchasing power of the middle-class has been increasing along with the country’s economic growth, and Panasonic aims to speed up efforts to take advantage of the demand in housing that is expected to further grow.

In mid-November, Panasonic began receiving orders for its I-Class kitchen range that are locally produced in India.

The main body of the kitchen adapts well to the climate of the country, which has many hot and humid regions, by using plywood boards that do not damage easily even if they get wet with water.

As well, purchasers of the kitchen can choose movable shelves to store spices, often used in the country, as an option.

Prices start from ¥700,000, which is nearly ¥300,000 less than those of conventional models imported from Japan. Panasonic cut costs by commissioning production to local makers.

“Until recently, customers were mainly wealthy people. But now, the middle-class is also increasingly interested in finely made Japanese products,” a Panasonic official said.

The company is also giving high priority to wiring devices, and built a new plant in southern India at a cost of about ¥4.6 billion. The plant began manufacturing switches and outlets in spring of this year.

The durability of the devices has been praised, with strong demand from local construction firms.

The number of new housing starts in India is about 7 million a year and still expanding. Sales of houses and condominiums has been growing along with the increase of a middle-class.

It is estimated that the number of housing units to be newly constructed until 2025 will increase 7.7%.

“India is a big market. It will also be important how we can acquire distribution power there, ” said Panasonic Corp. President Masahiro Shinada.