The joint venture agreement which was recently concluded between the Indian Future Group and Mibelle has been receiving extensive media coverage. I’ve been contacted personally regarding this new business connection many times. These conversations always start with congratulations, swiftly followed by the real question: Why India?
The project in India is very much in line with our strategy in numerous ways. Firstly, it will contribute to our growth. India harbours an enormous potential for us. There are over 1.2 billion people living there, most of them are young. A good 200 million of them are middle class and have both the need and the financial resources for cosmetic products.
In India, Switzerland is associated with rather special qualities. The values we live by, our professional attitude and, of course, the Swiss Alps are all well known to a large portion of the middle class in India. This is partly thanks to certain Bollywood films which were filmed in Switzerland. The right mixture of Indian and Swiss elements could therefore be a successful product concept for the Indian retail trade.
India is growing and it is changing rapidly. This is not only due to its high population growth. Today, many Indians are very well educated and extremely innovative. We will learn a great deal thanks to this project, such as how to interact with a completely different culture and business mentality, the use of new technologies in the retail trade, managing a business unit far away from Switzerland and, last but not least, managing a joint company together with an equal partner.
This project contains lots of innovative elements. It opens up great opportunities and, admittedly, a few risks as well. We’ve counteracted these with extensive contractual agreements in this first stage of the project. However, we need to remain watchful and invest enough resources. From our Swiss perspective, we must also accept that not everything can be achieved as quickly and punctually as we’re accustomed to. No doubt we will find new, previously unknown ways to achieve our goals.
I am really looking forward to the challenge!