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With its Scion at the Helm, Intex is Readying for an Encore

Talking of Intex Technologies is somehow akin to talking of Keshav Bansal, its youngest Director.

Talking of Intex Technologies, pioneering Indian mobile handset maker, is somehow akin to talking of Keshav Bansal, its youngest Director.

“You become so deeply immersed in the business, it’s become the same thing. Our day starts here, ends here. It’s all about Intex,” explained Bansal, 26.

Bansal joined Intex in 2012, the company founded by his father in 1996. He worked his way up and gained respect for his successful marketing idea to have celebrities as brand ambassadors. In 2015, Bansal was appointed Director of Intex Technologies.

Late November 2015, Bansal, at 24, became the youngest owner of an IPL franchise, the Gujarat Lions.

Despite the heavy investment, buying an IPL cricket team is considered a branding masterstroke by Intex. Bansal says because of Gujarat Lions, Intex’s sales have increased 25 per cent year-on-year in their biggest markets, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh, even as the company’s brand value catapults globally.

Intex has increased spending in strategic marketing especially for above the line (ATL) marketing, from Rs 10 crore in 2007-08 to Rs 250 crore in 2015-16. With the higher investments, Intex Technologies’ revenue has grown from Rs 32 crore in 2001 to Rs 6400 crore in financial year ending March 2016.

Revenue for FY 16-17 was Rs 4300 crore, with the mobile division raking in Rs 3000 crore. With the added brand visibility that comes with owning an IPL team, Intex targets a 45 per cent jump in revenue from mobile handsets in FY 17-18, to anywhere between Rs 4,300 crore and Rs 4400 crore. It expects its total revenue to reach Rs 6600 crore.

Their R&D investment for the next six months is Rs 200 crores. Intex has many technological firsts, like the world’s most affordable Firefox OS device and the first multilingual app in India, but it still banks on innovative marketing strategies to win this hypercompetitive market.

“Every consumer brand has to be consumer-centric,” explains Bansal, adding, “Price is definitely the biggest factor for the Indian market. A difference of one or two dollars can affect the common man’s decision to buy a product.”

Apart from overseeing Intex’s traditional products, Bansal has infused his own passion for sports into the company. The spending for the Gujarat Lions alone will be Rs 200-250 crores across the next two years. Business trumps passion, says Bansal, adding, “I’m personally inclined towards sports, but it was a calculated move.  We managed to get a good team, and finished at the top of the league stage in our first year. People were surprised to see us disrupt the league at the lowest cost” (the team was attained through reverse auctioning for Rs 10 crore).

“We are also looking at how we can make new sporting leagues for kabaddi or football,” says Bansal.

Intex also has a Rs 200-crore fund for startups. “I meet lots of entrepreneurs who bounce off ideas about sports. We have invested in Rooter, an app to connect sports enthusiasts – we want to do lots of things in sports, all under Intex.”

Just as Intex is entering a new phase of growth, so is its director. “We are still expanding because we don’t fear. Some things work out (like the Gujarat Lions) and some things don’t (like cables, inverters, laptops). But that’s okay.”

There was a time when Bansal wanted to be an actor. “Even now I’m really inclined towards acting. But I started pursuing just Intex.” In addition to being the face of Gujarat Lions, since most Intex TV commercials will feature Bansal, one could say the stars of Intex and Bansal are rising together.

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