IMS Group: Leading through innovation
Integrated Mobility Solutions (IMS) Group is, no doubt, a reputed business conglomerate in the country. It was founded way back in 1993 by Deepak Malhotra in the name of Integrated Marketing Solutions.
In its first four years of the commencement, the company was totally focused on the retail business of various parts and accessories related to computer. Then in 1998 Integrated Marketing Solutions also started to import mobile sets of variations to sell in the Nepali market.
“There were two major reasons that led us to venture into the mobile set market,” reveals Malhotra, Founder, IMS Group, adding, “The first reason was that a number of the Indian tourists visiting Nepal used to ask us for handsets to buy since such phones were quite costlier in India compared to Nepal.
The second reason was much broader as it pertained to the company’s mission to help expedite the growth of the mobile telephony market of the country. “The expansion of the market was necessary to make the telecommunication services in the country more effective and efficient. After all, such services were also seamlessly linked to the technological and economic development of the nation as a whole,” he justifies.
In 2001, Integrated Marketing Solutions partnered with the Korean mobile brand Samsung to act its authorized dealer for Nepal. Thus, it became the first Nepali company to act as such dealer any foreign mobile phone brand.
Rather than dealing with various mobile brands, we decided to keep our eye on the ball by making such partnership with Samsung. In line with such strategy, exclusive outlets of the brand were opened in places in the capital like New Road and Dillibazaar. For about 9 years, the company had to struggle a lot to keep itself afloat in the market. “As the handset market was utterly dominated by brands like Nokia, it was definitely not smooth sailing for Samsung. The average annual sale over this period was so poor that we used to sell just 3,000 to 4,000 pieces of the brand per month.”
However, in 2010, the market performance of the company slightly improved as it started to import the handsets of Samsung directly from Korea. Before that, it used to bring them in Nepal via Hong Kong.
“We started to chalk out a focused marketing plan after Samsung Electronics showed interest in the Nepali market by directing exporting it’s to Nepal. Such plan somewhat facilitated us to gain traction in the market,” he divulges
But a real turning point came in 2013 when the company became well aware of the strategies being adopted by Samsung Electronics regarding marketing, sales, pricing and other similar aspects in the international market.
The clear understanding such strategies prompted the International Marketing Solution to carry out an in-depth study of the influential forces of the Nepali mobile set market and adopt visionary promotional plans for Samsung.
“Such efforts, fortunately, started to pay off. Since 2013, the sales of the brand have been growing simply exponentially. Of the Rs 23/24 billion handset market of the country, Samsung brand today alone accounts for Rs 8/9 billion. Particularly in the smartphone category, it holds as much as 60 per cent market share,” Malhotra divulges adding,” In fact, we are now selling a whopping 800,00 to 90,000 pieces of mobile phones of the brand per month in the Nepali market.”
Apart from technology, IMS Group is diversified into several other sectors like automobile, construction, real estate, hospital and medicine, hospitality, hydropower, education, baby care, manufacturing, finance, broadcasting & ips, procurement and consulting. In fact, there are some 20 different companies operating under the umbrella of the group.
In the hydropower sector, IMS Energy under the group is developing the 341 MW Budhigandaki Upstream Hydropower Project based on Peaking Run of River (PROR) modality. “The project, which is expected to complete within the next 4 to 5 years, will provide electricity for 4 to 6 hours every day both in the dry and rainy seasons,” he informs.
Similarly, Silver Valley Developers, a real estate company belonging to the Group, is engaged in upgrading the International Shahansha Hotel in Dhapasi to the status of five-star hotel after acquiring its management three years back.
“After such upgrading, the hotel spread over the area of 18 ropanis will have 100 rooms with the largest banquet hotel in the country,” Malhotra states.
“Silver Valley Developers has an impeccable track record in building high-quality structures. That one of its projects, Silver Valley Apartments located in Kalikasthan, was among the four apartments in the country suffering least damages during the 2015 earthquake attests to the fact.
Likewise, IMS Motors, automotive wing of the group, plans to introduce electric vehicles (EVs) from the Ssangyong brand of Korean four-wheeler in the Nepali market this year.
“EVs, of course, offer several unique benefits compared to conventional internal combustion engine vehicles. They have lower operating and maintenance costs, produce little or no local air pollution, reduce dependence on petroleum and also have the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Well realizing such benefits, we are launching EVs soon in the Nepali market,” he justifies.
According to him, the Group always believes in moving ahead by putting premium on innovation. And, as part of such philosophy, it has recently come up with idea of Cell pay, Nepal’s first mobile payment system. “Unlike the other conventional payment gateway systems, it does require wallet and operates from website and application. Moreover, it is the first payment system in Nepal that prioritizes real-time transaction to provide a convenient and innovative system for day-to-day transactions to the general public.”
IMS Group also seems to be serious towards fulfilling the specific needs and aspirations of as many as customers as possible in the country. “The prime reason behind us making a foray into a wide array of areas is to serve a diverse group of Nepali customers in the best possible way.
And, remarkably, such efforts have facilitated to bolster the group in terms of the number of staffs, annual turnover etc.
Equipped with some 400 staff members, the annual turnover of the IMS Group stands at a gigantic Rs 200 billion.
On the other side, IMS Group is also involved in various corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities like providing scholarships to deserving students, supporting the victims of natural calamities, etc through DM Foundation. “We firmly believe in giving back to the society where we operate. And this has helped to create both tangible and intangible values for us,” Malhotra states.