Andreas Thamrin: Targeting Opportunities in a Growing Market

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FOR most people cellular phones have become an inseparable part of their daily activities. In Indonesia the total number of cell phones is already 225 million, half of which are smartphones.

According to research company Nielsen Indonesia, the ownership of cell phones in Indonesia has increased three fold in the past five years. From 2005 until 2010 there has indeed been a significant increase in cell phone ownership. Just compare it with fixed line telephones which have gone down by 50 percent.

In response to this rapid growth in 2011 Global Teleshop has made preparations to add 100 cell phone stores in a number of cities in the country.  The additional stores are aimed at supporting sales that are predicted to increase by 25 percent compared with last year.  “We have selected the locations for 50 stores while for the rest we are making the necessary preparations,” said Andreas Thamrin, 34, operations director of PT Cipta Multi Usaha Perkasa, the owner of a retail network for telecommunication products, Global Teleshop.

Currently Global Teleshop has 387 stores spread in various locations in 124 cities in Indonesia. Andreas further said that the smartphone market has enjoyed rapid growth in the past few years and last year the increase was more than 100 percent although the conventional cell phones suffered a slight decrease in sales of about 15 percent.

Andreas said the high demand for smartphones was simply in line with the lowering of their prices and the increased purchasing power of consumers, including those in the regions. “The technology of smartphones has also developed rapidly as can be seen from the numerous launches of new products. This year the market is predicted to grow further because a number of manufacturers are ready to launch new products in the second quarter,” he said.

Most of the new products are Android based tablet cell phones, some of which are as follows: Samsung Galaxy II, Samsung Nexus (Google) S, LG Optimus Me and Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc.

Research In Motion (RIM) will also launch its Blackberry PlayBook in June while iPad II Apple Inc. is expected to introduce its products here in Indonesia in the not too distant future.

In 2010, added Andreas, the market growth of smartphones in the domestic market was largely due to the sales of Blackberry mobile phones. “Blackberry has dominated the cell phone sales here last year beating Nokia’s 12 year domination,” he commented.

Based on this situation, continued Andreas, his company has anticipated the change in the smartphone market by transforming the company’s business from a single brand store (Nokia) to selling a number of other brands starting from early 2010.  “In this business transformation we are focusing on the sales of smartphones and we have trained our employees to adjust to the change,” explained Andreas.

Next to Nokia, Global Teleshop now sells Blackberry, Apple iPhone, Samsung LG, Sony Ericson cell phones as well as its own brand, G-Mobile.  All these brands, he said, form 95 percent of the cell phone market here in Indonesia. Andreas went on to say that the target market of Global Teleshop is middle up so its stores are in strategic locations and also in malls.

The company has also opened Apple Store Global in Karawaci, Tangerang after opening similar stores in Semarang, Central Java, Surabaya, East Java, Bali, and Medan, North Sumatra.

Andreas is the second generation owner of PT Cipta Multi Usaha Perkasa. The company was established by his father, Hermes Thamrin, in 1995 and initially was the distributor of Ericsson cell phones but later went into collaboration with GSM operator Satelindo to set up Satelindo Direct, which is a distribution network for Satelindo sim cards.

In 1996 Hermes set up Graha Nokia (Nokia House), which is the first Nokia Professional Center (NPC) outlet in Asia and from here soon grew Global Teleshop.  Andreas does not mind it when people say that his current success is largely due to his father’s reputation in the mobile phone business. But actually, Andreas, who has a Bachelor of Business degree from the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) is in fact not without extensive experience in the business world.

In Sydney, Australia, Andreas set up Eshop Direct Pty. Ltd. in May 1999, which he later sold in June 2006. Eshop Direct (Games Market) was one of the first online stores in Australia. The company sold PCs and console games direct to the public through a secure website. Starting from scratch, the website went up to 4,000 users a day before he let go of the business.

His responsibilities were to manage the day-to-day operation of the business, comprising of 18 stores and over 90 employees, overseeing total annual commissions of $2.5 million.  He developed and implemented marketing plans to increase the number of mobile phone contracts through retail stores and developed an outbound sales team to obtain non-retail and corporate customers.

These are the experiences that prepared Andreas to take over from his father at PT Cipta Multi Usaha Perkasa (now called PT Global Teleshop) in Indonesia in December 2006.

Global Teleshop is the authorized distributor for Nokia products, Telkomsel and Telkom Flexi and it is also the retail partner for Apple, LG, Samsung and Research in Motion.

For many years Nokia dominated the market here and contributed 95 percent of the company’s revenue. As mentioned earlier Andreas said Global Teleshop has to move on and not only rely on one brand. “Therefore in 2011 I plan for the company to carry other brands that are flourishing in the market as well as products that are selling like hot cakes,” he concluded. (Burhan Abe)

The Jakarta Post, May 07, 2011

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