3i zeroes in on rural market

3i zeroes in on rural market

New Delhi: NSE listed, global IT solutions company, 3i infotech is eyeing the lucrative rural market. It is proposing to launch a one-stop shop next month selling a plethora of services: Be it banking, or insurance, educational or agricultural, ecommerce or entertainment. 12500 stores across nine states will provide these services.

e0cdd1c8-c6cf-11dd-a00f-000b5dabf636.flvBut there is one hitch.

It comes in the form of the humble Indian Post. With its formidable network of a lakh and fifty thousand outlets across every nook and corner of the country, and with a portfolio that boasts of similar services like banking and insurance, it can prove to be a party pooper for 3i.

India Post has tie-up with SBI, NABARD, ICICI Prudential Life Insurance, Reliance Money Limited, Forward Markets Commission BSNL/MTNL among others.

But 3i is not being deterred. The ICICI promoted IT major is counting on the quality of service being the crucial differentiator. South Asia President Anirudh Prabhakaransays, “We are not going to underestimate them at all. They are a humongous entity. They have a huge amount of brand equity. We don’t underestimate them. We are confident in our approach essentially because the kind of bouquet of services we offer is going to be much more than anybody else in the market place. And we are so confident about our ability to service and ability to respond quickly. We are starting with technological edge. We can provide service levels which others are not."

Iserv is treading on territory already mapped by companies like ITC through its e-choupal initiative. Echoupals help farmers access daily prices of a variety of crops in India and abroad.

I Serv would be employing roughly 25000 people from rural areas. The stores would be a mix of company owned and franchisees. Each store will require an investment between Rs100,000 to Rs200,000 and would be having an area between 200 to 2000 square feet. IServ is in the process of forging alliances with various companies. The consumers will be charged Rs5 per service and each household will be offered at least 5 services. In some cases like insurance, the charges will be paid by the companies themselves.

The target is to make Rs12.5 crores a month. But that would begin from the end of 2009 when the roll out is completed. Iserv believes it has a winner in its hands as two-third of India’s middle income households are in rural areas.