Micromax announces its foray into Sri Lanka

By Azhar Razak
Micromax, one of India’s leading mobile handset companies launched its entry into Sri Lanka last week with aggressive plans to tap the huge untapped telecom consumer space. To begin with, the company is set to launch seven models of handsets (out of its full range of around 30 models) and 3G USB Data Cards ranging from less than 3,000 and up to 25,000 Sri Lankan Rupees.

“Micromax has entered into a distribution arrangement with Infinity Lanka Holdings Private Limited for its Sri-Lankan venture. Infinity in turn will join hands with Cellcity as partners to make Micromax products to be available in over 1000 outlets and 50 service collection centres island-wide,” Director Infinity Lanka Holdings, Ronald Muller told reporters at the launch.
He said that all of the company’s phones and accessories that have been manufactured in India branded ‘Maxxmobile’ would be provided a one-year warranty assuring people the quality and service they are looking for at reasonable prices.

“Micromax looks at Sri Lanka as a very important business territory and we are extremely delighted to be commercially available in Sri Lanka. This launch gives us a chance to take the success of Micromax from India to entire SAARC nations. Our key focus has always been technology innovation and value adds for our customers, we are confident to repeat the success story in this paradise island by becoming the preferred mobile phone brand in the territory,” Vikas Jain, Business Director Micromax Informatics Limited said.

He added that the Sri Lankan market has got immense potential for the growth of mobile phone industry and there is a huge untapped telecom consumer segment waiting for their range of innovative mobile phone models.
“Micromax shall bring in the products in multi-price segments and for different consumer segments. Youth will be our core customer segment in Sri Lanka and we shall also be reaching out to the low tele density rural population of the territory specially with our 30 days battery backup phone models and Dual SIM mobile phones which will provide an operator choice to our customers”, remarked Vikas Sahni, Business Head for SAARC territory, Micromax Informatics Limited.

He added that the company will also install a fully fledged Micromax Experience Zone in Colombo where the consumers can experience in live the entire range of Micromax handsets.
Meanwhile, Micromax has acquired the sponsorships of key properties in entertainment and cricket rolling from IIFA 2010, The Asia Cup and The Tri Series. Sri Lanka is the second South Asian international market for Micromax after Nepal. The company plans to launch its business in Bangladesh within a span of a month and also intends to enter the Middle East and Brazilian markets in future. Micromax has 23 domestic offices across India and international presence in Hong Kong, USA, Dubai, Nepal and now in Sri Lanka.




Workshop on the art of strategy

The art of strategy workshop was conducted on May 13 at the Ceylon Continental Hotel with over 120 participants focussing on the four stages of the strategic planning process. The programme featured eminent facilitators Lewie Diasz and Yasas Hewage who explained theoretical frameworks and contextualised essential strategic management frameworks to real life situations to an audience of Business Managers, Entrepreneurs, MBA students and General Managers.

Yasas Hewage opened the forum by taking a reality check on macro economic dynamics, which he called the ‘White Water World’. How the world is reshaped every now and then with disruptive change was discussed with many vivid examples. He drove the point on the need for ‘the Strategic Planning Process’ to be flexible, reflexive and adaptive. He also took time to dwell on many definitions of Strategy which has resulted in a clear confusion on ‘what is’ and ‘what is not’ strategy. He used Henry Mintzbergs thinking of strategy where Strategy is defined to be either a Plan, Ploy, Pattern, Position or a Perspective, to help the audience to create a frame of reference.

The first session was focussed on conducting a ‘Strategic Audit’ to help set the foundation for Strategy direction, Formulation and Implementation. Whilst highlighting the need for many sources of data for a meaningful analysis as well as the appropriate use of tools to arrive at eye opening ‘insights’, time was also spent discussing the Sri Lankan post war opportunity which is a current discussion topic in every boardroom in the country.
Lewie Diasz focussed on the essence of strategy by introducing frameworks to envision the direction of strategy and subsequently some frameworks on how strategy can be formulated in a dynamic, volatile environment. Business strategic frameworks were introduced which spelt out how to compete and Growth strategic frameworks to determine how a firm should grow which was followed by a discussion on portfolio strategy and branding strategy.

In the final session the audience was exposed to many concepts for successful Strategy Implementation. Yasas passionately spoke of the challenge of building the right ‘Culture’ to support the intended as well as emergent Strategies. He shared some examples of the interrelation of the concept of a ‘Cultural Web’ and the importance of ‘ Stories’ as one of the components of achieving a common set of Values and Behaviours aligned with the Strategy. He took time to explain the need for an ‘Organisation for Execution’ with ‘Project Management’ as a core competency as well as the need to make the appropriate ‘Structural Changes’ to further support Strategy. He left the audience with final thoughts on the need to inspect what you expect and not to just suspect, in other words to build razor sharp dashboards that go well beyond Financial indicators but measure Goals on Customer, Business Processes as well as Innovation and Learning. The thin divide between Strategy and Execution was one of the core learning’s of the programme. In fact the point that ‘Execution being the new Strategy’ was cemented among the audience.


Lanka IOC Chairman calls on Minister Basil Rajapaksa

The progress made in Sri Lanka by Lanka IOC PLC and the company’s investments and plans were discussed when Lanka IOC Chairman S. V. Narasimhan paid a courtesy call on Senior Presidential Advisor and Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa at the Presidential Secretariat recently.
Narasimhan briefed the minister on Lanka IOC’s future activities including planned expansion of its product portfolio and improvements to the distribution network.
Twice ranked Sri Lanka’s top corporate entity in the LMD 50 rankings, Lanka IOC PLC is an overseas venture of Indian Oil Corporation Ltd., a Fortune 500 company with a ranking of 105 on the magazine’s Global 500 listing (2009). Lanka IOC PLC is a public limited liability company listed on the Colombo Stock Exchange. The company imports and distributes standard and branded petrol and diesel, marine fuel, lubricants and bitumen.


Go Green project to make Sri Lanka self sufficient in ginger

Go Green Limited, Agro Forestry Management Company having interests in Agriculture, Eco Tourism and Private Forestry, has planned to set up Ayurvedic Herb and Forestry Plantations in Sri Lanka.
There is a growing demand for Ayurvedic herb products worldwide as people are looking for natural remedies to cure many ailments and also to maintain beauty and live healthy. Sri Lanka is a tropical country in South Asia having ideal conditions for growing many of the herbs. As at present more than 60 % local consumption of Ayuruvedic herbs are imported to the country and as a result huge sum of foreign exchange is drained out. In 2008 2,196,650 US$ was spent on Ayurvedic herb imports.

Go Green Ltd initially plans to fill the local supply gap and meet world demand subsequently. Go Green have already identified to initially plant Ginger in one hundred acres to make Sri Lanka self sufficient in Ginger in the year 2011. Considering the production trends in the world, India, with over 30% of the global share, now leads in global production of ginger replacing China, which has slipped to second position (20.5%), Followed by Indonesia (12.7%), Nepal (11.5%) and Nigeria (10%). Our aim is to make Sri Lanka self sufficient in Ginger and subsequently to be a major exporting Country.

There is a growing demand for Ginger (Zingiber officinale) locally as well as internationally. In 2008, Sri Lanka has produced 8.27 Metric Tones, but 450 Metric Tones was imported. Demand for the ginger always exceeds the supply in both local & International market.
Subsequently Go Green Ltd will extend their plantations to other varieties of herbs like Katuwalbatu, Bim kohomba , Ashwaganda and Forestry Trees.

This commercial project of the company will be managed by qualified agronomists along with advice from Export Agriculture Department and Ayuruvedic Research Institute.
This project of Go Green will generate substantial employment opportunities and contribute to the national economy and save foreign exchange to our motherland.


Sudantha awarded SLS quality certification

Link Sudantha, a quality ayurvedic toothpaste in the market for over 11 years, was awarded the SLS quality certification as the first ayurvedic toothpaste in the country to receive this quality status.
The event at which Link Sudantha was awarded the SLS certification was held at the Sri Lanka Standards Institute auditorium on May 5. At this event The SLSI Chairman Dr. A. R. L. Wijesekara awarded the SLS quality certificate for Link Sudantha to the Chairman, Link Natural Products (Pvt) Ltd, Dr. Devapriya Nugawela.

Chairman Link Natural Products (Pvt) Ltd., Dr. Devapriya Nugawela, who addressed the invitee gathering said, “Link Sudantha, one of Sri Lanka’s quality ayurvedic toothpastes wining this SLS certificate is a historical occasion for both Link Natural Products and the entire Ayurvedic industry in Sri Lanka.”
Dr. Nugawela added, “If the Sri Lanka Standard Institute can develop quality standards for ayurvedic products, it would benefit consumer too in having high quality ayurvedic products in the future. On behalf of Link Natural Products Dr. Nugawela expressed his willingness to provide all possible help to the SLSI for such quality development.”

Though the Sri Lankan market has many different tooth pastes, according to the National Oral Health Survey of the Ministry of Health and Nutrition published in 2009, more than 80% of the adults suffer from various gum diseases. It is in this context that Link Sudantha manufactured on an ayurvedic formula, developed after long laboratory testing at the R&D department and manufactured using high quality raw materials, won the SLS certification.

The Chairman Sri Lanka Standard Institute, Dr. A. R. L. Wijesekara, who had addressed the event, said that it was a pleasure for SLSI to award the SLS certificate for the first time to anayurvedic toothpaste. This was done based on the quality parameters of SLSI that also considered the quality and good manufacturing practices of the Link Natural Products factory complex as well.
The Director General of SLSI, Dr. L. N. Senaweera and board of directors were also present.


Institute Of Certified Public Accountants formed in Sri Lanka

A group of qualified academics in the fields of Management and Accountancy have recently formed a new institution in Sri Lanka named ‘Institute Of Certified Public Accountants’ (CPA) based on a syllabus that entails both British and American models. The new institute, which is committed to play a major role in human resource development in Sri Lanka has been set up with a view to promote the art and science of accounting and to provide quality education and training for students to advance their knowledge, skills and capabilities to meet the changing needs of modern society.

“It will be a national professional institute with international perspectives, dedicated to the promotion of the highest accounting, finance, auditing and ethical standards with a vision to be the premier accountancy qualification in Sri Lanka, comparable to the best in the world,” CEO of CPA, Daya Jayasinghe told the Nation Economist in a telephone interview.
He says that they expect to hold the first examination based on its syllabus in November while classes are expected to commence shortly as soon as students start coming in.
CPA is presently existent in most countries worldwide such as America, Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong, China, Greece and Kenya with its recognition increasing day-by-day.
“The institution is totally Sri Lankan as the examination papers will be set up by Sri Lankans and the entire cost/fees for the whole exam is only around Rs.25,000 which is very reasonable compared to other institutions,” Jayasinghe said.

He added that the structure of the qualification have been designed to test the extent and depth of a candidate’s theoretical knowledge as well as practical training experiences. The CPA qualification exam syllabus is divided into three levels; foundation, graduate and professional. The foundation levels will have total of 10 subjects and rewards successful students with two certificates namely Diploma in Accounting & Finance and Advanced Diploma in Accounting and Finance. The second stage of the exam, Graduate Diploma in Accounting and Finance has two modules plus a case study while the final Professional stage has a choice of three subjects from seven plus an Ethics Exam that involves the completion of an ethics exam.
“The curriculum embodies academic rigour, a practical focus and a flexible approach to both examination and training. The course provides a critical awareness of the role, knowledge and techniques of accounting and finance in both the public and private sector and involves a blend of theoretical education and practical training and equips a student with knowledge, ability, skills and other qualities required of a professional accountant,” Jayasinghe said.

Whilst the focus of the programme is obviously in the fields of accounting and finance, the curriculum is sufficiently broad based to allow development of careers in many other areas of business, commerce and the public sector. A special emphasis is placed on the development of the skills necessary to succeed in the modern business environment: these include computing, economics, behavioural sciences, management, research, development and analytical skills. These are introduced from the outset and then developed through the rest of the course.

CPA qualification not only gives members more opportunities, but also equips them with greater technical knowledge and better business skills.
The Advisory Council of the Institute includes renowned academics like Professor B L Panditharatne,
Former Vice Chancellor, University of Peradeniya and a Former Chairman, University Grants Commission, Professor A. D. V. de S. Indraratna, President, OPA Sri Lanka. Rienzie T. Wijetilleke, Chairman Hatton National Bank, M. V. Theagarajah, Former Chairman of the Browns Group of Companies, Daya Jayasinghe, Chairman, Academy of Computer and Management Science Education Great Britain, M. Thiyagarajah, Chartered Management Accountant and an Attorney-at-Law and Manoharan Ramanathan, Chartered Certified Accountant who is a Senior Lecturer in Accounting, Finance and Management.
The Registry of the Institute of Certified Public Accountants is at 108A Maya Avenue, Colombo 6, Telephone 2508743/2500320/2829462 (AR)