Japanese firm Panasonic is planning to double its business in the Middle East and Africa region, to over $1 billion by 2018, according to a senior executive.
Speaking to Gulf Business on the sidelines of the ongoing Gitex event in Dubai, Shinichi Wakita, managing director of Panasonic Marketing Middle East and Africa, admitted that the company had seen a drop in its marketshare over the last few years because of growing competition.
“But we have changed our corporate strategy now,” he said, adding that the company would focus on “quality rather than quantity” in the consumer goods segment.”We will concentrate on three products – ACs, refrigerators and washing machines in particular, because we have a very good product line-up in that segment. We will target high-end customers,” he added.
Currently, the consumer segment contributes to 70 per cent of regional business, but Wakita says the aim is to make the B2B segment reach 50 per cent by 2018.
“Our target is related to big events coming to this market – the Expo 2020 in Dubai and FIFA 2022 World Cup in Qatar. These big projects will mean many opportunities for B2B,” he explained.
The company unveiled a slew of new B2B products on Sunday at Gitex, including smart solutions in healthcare, agriculture and living and new projectors.
Among the new launches were two new generation robots – RESYONE and HOSPI – targeting the healthcare sector.
RESYONE is an electric care bed that transforms into a move-around sofa where the patient can be transferred by one care-giver, while HOSPI, which was showcased on Sunday, is an autonomous delivery robot that helps with transportation of medication and lab sample collection 24/7 in hospitals.
Currently deployed in Japan, each HOSPI robot costs roughly $100,000, while an entire package including a system change in the hospital costs between $300,000 to $500,000, officials said.
The new products, which are still undergoing feasibility studies, are expected to be introduced in the Middle East over the next two to three years, Wakita said.
“We are very confident about our future in this market,” he added.