German mail order giant Quelle plans Asian expansion

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BOMBAY -- German mail-order giant Quelle Schickedanz is scouting the Indian market for a local partner to launch its service in the subcontinent.

Negotiations are on with leading Indian marketers for a subsidiary that would be its third in Asia, after Japan and China. Otto Versand, a German rival, has already launched in India after buying into a local direct seller, New Delhi-based Burlington.

"We want to do our homework first and then enter the market because we have a long-term plan for India," Kurt Ebert, one of Quelle's directors, told the United News of India agency. "India has a good scope for marketing of products through mail order."

According to Quelle, the Indian mail-order business is worth an estimated $5.6 million a year. That's small beer compared to the $22.2 billion German market, of which it controls 25%. Quelle last year notched up worldwide sales of $6.7 billion.

Mr. Ebert says his company will target the Indian middle- and upper-middle-class for Quelle products that may be sourced locally or imported from overseas arms. Quality goods at economical prices will be its positioning in price-sensitive India, he adds.

Copyright May 1998, Crain Communications Inc.

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