Get a demo Do I subscribe? News sign-up
Print

India inspires global innovation

News, 23 July 2015

MUMBAI: An increasing number of global brands regard India as a centre for "reverse innovation" where cost-effective products are designed and developed locally before they are launched successfully in other markets.

A good example is Samsung's new ActivWash, Times of India reported. It is a top-loading washing machine, which the South Korean multinational developed at its lab in Chennai and is now exporting to South Korea where one sells every two minutes.

Samsung also showcased the machine at CES Las Vegas, the world's top consumer electronics show, earlier this year where it garnered positive reviews.

"ActivWash is an example of a product that we made for India, but soon got recognised for its utility across our shores," said Ranjivjit Singh, senior vp of corporate marketing at Samsung India.

Arch rival LG has also developed products in India, such as a smart refrigerator and a mosquito-repelling air conditioner, and plans to sell them throughout Southeast Asia, the Middle East and Africa.

Elsewhere, Renault has launched its Indian-built Kwid, which the French car maker developed from scratch at its Indian research and development division, and is now looking to export to Brazil, Iran and other global markets.

The reverse innovation trend is also being pursued by major brands in the food and drinks industry.

Mondelez India and Coca-Cola India have both developed a visi-cooler for the Indian market and have since exported these low-cost refrigerators to Malaysia and other countries with a hot climate.

Meanwhile, Hindustan Unilever's Pureit water purifier is an Indian innovation that has been adopted by consumers in Indonesia, Brazil, China and Africa.

Commenting on the development, Professor Vijay Govindarajan, a Fellow at Harvard Business School, said: "When India can innovate world-class quality products at ultra-low costs, those products will appeal to customers all over the world."

Data sourced from Times of India, Carscoops; additional content by Warc staff