Indo Japan Horologicals, a company of Bothra Family, was established in the year 1994. The company was set up for making Quartz Movements for wrist watches with assistance of Citizen Watch Company Limited of Japan. Indo Japan has its own building measuring about 40,000 sq. ft. in Kolkata. In January 2016, it became the first company to successfully manufacture SMD LED Chips in India. In line with ‘Make in India’, the company aims to deliver best quality products at reasonable prices to meet the demands of Indian and foreign markets. To garner deeper insights into company plans, we at LED World spoke to Mayur Bothra, CEO, Indo Japan Horologicals Pvt. Ltd. Here are the excerpts:
Why and when did you decide to enter into the lighting industry?
It was my father who set up India’s largest watch case manufacturing company in the year 1978 by the name of Indo-Japan. Later, when I came back to India after completing my education in 2012, I decided to move into something more futuristic, and then stumbled upon LED technology. Till then none was manufacturing LEDs in India, which gave us a reason to go ahead. We started our own research and did a thorough study of the market. It took us about two years to make up our mind for setting up a facility in India. From 2014-15, we started shortlisting machines, processes and rest of the equipment required for setting up the production unit. We went on to hiring engineers from countries like China, Japan, Korea and Taiwan for initiating production process as well as to train our local people. In this way, the journey of us being the country’s first LED chip manufacturer began.
What challenges did you come across in this journey?
It was indeed a very challenging journey. When we started, the LED industry was absolutely virgin; the staff had to be trained and machines had to be brought in from Europe and US. It took us one year to establish standard quality product. It was a great moment for us when our product was accepted and approved by Intel Electronics, one of the leading electronics manufacturing companies. Later, we got a deal from another high profile client, Compact, and did substantial business with these two companies. Slowly, we started getting recognition from the industry stakeholders and today, we are supplying to some core companies.
What all comprise your infrastructure?
As far as manufacturing set up is concerned, we have a large base in Kolkata and a smaller one in China. Most of our R&D is done in Singapore and now we have our own patented technology here. This has given us a fillip to our manufacturing capabilities and we have emerged as a technologically sound company.
We have recently introduced a unique product called, SunLike LED. The only other company that manufacturers this LED is Seoul Semiconductor. In the mean time, we have also started making high-powered LEDs like the other global players. Slowly, we are growing in stature; we started with two production lines in 2015, and today we are doing business in millions. We are proud to share that we have bagged an order for a billion pieces recently from one of India’s biggest lighting manufacturers.
Why is LED manufacturing not being able to pick up in India? What can we learn from China?
We have a long way to go. For example, in China, you can fill a big football stadium with technocrats, while in India; we can’t even fill a small room. That is where we are lacking! While setting up the LED business in India, we had to train machine operators, and it took us a year to do that. If we had to roll out production capacity in China, the manufacturing would have started as early as on the 4th day itself.
Apart from such technological barriers, there is also a lack of ecosystem for this industry. Due to this reason, we had to create a set up in China so that our factory in India could run smoothly. We manage all our back-end processes from there and they work according to the requirements here.
In China, government gives a lot of support to LED manufacturers unlike India where there’s hardly any support. We have to source everything from China, including the tape for packaging. We are getting all raw materials from China, Taiwan, Korea and Japan. Even the schemes here are not so effective. In fact, I feel that the peak in Chinese LED industry is still awaited, and only then, there will be a downfall.
How much have you invested till now?
Initially, we started with a packaging plant in which Rs 6-7 crore worth of capital was invested. Till now we have put in 30-35 crores. We are setting up four more production lines, and the target is to invest about a total of 50 crores. We have also started doing a bit of exports to Singapore.
What are your future plans in terms of manufacturing?
LEDs are our core product but we will use the same infrastructure to manufacture ICs and other semiconductors as well. We are going to move into power supply management ICs. We want to bring all processes from China into India as we believe that we can replicate this in our country too.
As of now, we are doing all fabrication jobs in China through OEMs but now we want to do it right here. Our current capacity is 100 million and we are hopeful of reaching 200 million by the end of next year. Customers have given us good feedback and that has increased our credibility, especially in north India.
How long will it take for you to breakeven?
If we get support from Indian government, it is possible in six to nine months. But without it, it will take at least two to three years.
What message would you like to give to the stakeholders in the lighting industry?
I want people to focus more on quality than price. Low quality products are easy to be sold initially but it becomes difficult to sustain in the long term. One has to depend and believe on his own strengths to grow.