Santosh-Nema-RAK-CeramicsSantosh Nema, CEO for India, China & Bangladesh, RAK Ceramics

Around 80 per cent of RAK’s products are premium high end products offering the best quality and value for money. It is in contrast to the competitors whose primary manufacturing of vitrified tiles is of standard technology.

Globally, RAK Ceramics has a wide range of products for walls, floors, bathrooms and kitchens. Is the entire range available in India?

Yes the entire range of products by RAK Ceramics is made available in India. We have a manufacturing unit in Samalkot, Andhra Pradesh offering 10 variants in vitrified tiles and an extensive range of products with more than 8,000 designs.

How has imports from China impacted the Indian market?

The import of Chinese tiles in India has eroded profit margins of all brands in the market. But the quality and durability is a very important factor and innovation is the key for survival in Indian market for RAK Ceramics compared to China.

How do you view India as a market for RAK Ceramics, especially in view of the rapid growth in real estate?

India is experiencing a construction boom which has resulted in a surge in demand for tiles for the ever-growing middle class. Consumers have started to look beyond the conventional stone and marble floors and slowly accepting maintenance-free vitrified tiles.

We perceive that RAK Ceramics caters largely to the markets of metropolitan cities. How true is this perception?

RAK has its presence across the country with 10 company-owned showrooms in Mumbai, Pune, Nagpur and Coimbatore and over 1,000 dealers across India. Major growth in India, is coming from B-Class towns but when you talk about the new product or large sized tiles, the volumes are driven by majorly southern and western metros and cosmopolitan cities.

We get an impression that RAK Ceramics is more of a B2B brand than a B2C brand. What is your view?

The biggest challenge that any Indian manufacturing company faces is in transportation of their products as our country still does not have world class infrastructure for transport. Thus, having dealers in our channel helps us reach where we cannot reach directly. However, to answer your question we are now focusing on B2C as well.

To curb these challenges we have taken some steps such as when any party wants us to join as a dealer we give them adequate support in terms of marketing and branding their outlet, providing with product samples, support in fixture and furniture, having regular dealer meets with esteemed architects and the well-known faces of the fraternity. We also give them inputs on the general industry happenings and insights.

Moreover, we wish to keep them well informed about the happenings and changes in the industry and how we propose to achieve a common goal and grow together. In addition, we recently launched a nationwide road show ‘RAK Aapke Sahar’ which will cover 50 cities focusing on ‘Experiential Marketing’ where prospective dealers, distributors, architects, engineers, developers and end users will get a true look and feel of some of the wonderful range of products of RAK Ceramics.

Apart from catering to the premium market, are there plans of rolling out “budget” products in view of the “cost-conscious” Indian buyer?

Around 80 per cent of RAK’s products are premium high end products offering the best quality and value for money. It is in contrast to the competitors whose primary manufacturing of vitrified tiles is of standard technology hence cannot compete with us on premium quality thus making our tiles more durable and long lasting.

Tell us about your manufacturing capacity in India and whether there are any medium-term expansion plans on the anvil.

RAK Ceramics started its operations in India in 2004 and setup its own manufacturing plant in Samalkot, Andhra Pradesh in 2005. In India, RAK Ceramics has the largest and most modern vitrified tile manufacturing plant in Andhra Pradesh with manufacturing capacity of 30,000 sqm of vitrified tiles and about 2,000 sanitary ware pieces per day.

RAK Ceramics is the only company in India to manufacture 10 distinct variants of vitrified Tiles. Our current sales turnover is Rs.850 crore and we are targeting to take this to Rs.2,000 crore within the next couple of years. We currently have 10 exclusive company showrooms and 1000 dealer showrooms across the country, in the coming years these numbers will multiply along with the other coming up formats of privilege store and shop in shops.

How do you see India’s role RAK Ceramics’ global business, in the coming years?

Globally, RAK Ceramics is the No.1 company with presence of over 160 countries and we have chalked out a definite plan of becoming the No.1 company here in India over next 4-5 years.

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