Raju Jethwani, a 55-year-old businessman from India, started Eurostar in Saudi Arabia in the early 1980s. In 1992, he moved the headquarters to Dubai for its access to the wider Middle East and Africa markets. He started with digital satellite receiving systems and diversified into tablets last year. Mr Jethwani talks about the market segments for his tablets, including those for women and children.
What market segments are you targeting with the seven kinds of tablets you launched at the Gitex 2012 exhibition in Dubai?
After the Arabic-enabled tablet sold more than 100,000 units in the last year and a half, we launched tablets targeting women, TV viewers and teenagers. The one targeting women, for instance, is called E-Pad Femme tablet. It is a pink metallic-type tablet with apps relating to shopping, health care and yoga.
What kind of price range do the tablets have?
We are targeting consumers with low to mid-range spending levels. The tablets range from Dh299 (US$81) to Dh899 depending on the configuration.
What tablets are in the pipeline?
We will launch one in January for children from three to nine years. It will come with educational games to teach English and Arabic alphabets, and numbers as well as general knowledge quiz. The price range would be Dh599 to Dh699. There will be a locking arrangement to ensure a safe internet surfing environment for children.
Eurostar is among the market leaders in digital satellite communication in the UAE. Why enter the tablet sector?
Because we can see the future in this sector. At Gitex 2012, I heard we were the No. 2 brand after Apple in terms of units sold. In the UAE, around 1.5 million tablets were estimated to sell this year.
Where do you manufacture your tablets, and where is the research and development done?
Manufacturing is done completely in China. We have a team of 35 people there. We have an R&D centre in Dubai Investment Park with more than 25 engineers looking into software and hardware development. We also have tie-ups with some global companies besides a team in India for R&D.
What are the other products you want to launch next year?
This Dubai Shopping Festival, we want to launch an Android-based device that converts a normal TV into an internet-enabled smart TV. It will come with a webcam that sits atop the TV.
Which are the markets that you sell to from Dubai?
We sell in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and rest of the [Arabian] Gulf, apart from Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania and Ethiopia in Africa. We also have a presence in the [Commonwealth of Independent States] and the Indian subcontinent, including Pakistan, and Afghanistan.
What is your turnover like from the tablet sector?
Around Dh45 million [US$12.2m] over the last one year.