One of the things Nokia is focusing on is being a local company. The introduction of the Customs Union with Russia and Belarus made us local in the sense that we work with our partners more closely. We have localized our products for Kazakhstan and expanded our offices here, and we are the official mobile phone of the Asian Games. At the same time, our base in Kazakhstan allows us to serve other markets in the southern CIS. We have gained much experience in this market, and have increased our retail sales. Consumers are demanding our products and we are providing them the best quality. We are cooperating with local operators and have launched various campaigns to bring new products to consumers. Regarding value-added services, there’s definitely a significant amount of demand coming from consumers. The market is moving away from inexpensive devices toward smartphones. People are following the trends in Western Europe and are demanding the same products.
People didn’t used to worry about saving energy, but in the last five years the rising awareness has become significant. Now, more customers are concerned about energy usage, and Alsi sells the latest in technology to help clients save money. We are aiming to develop software platforms and customize them for local needs. The problem is that many customers have never seen such improvements in efficiency, and so we provide examples on how they can use this technology. We are organizing some classes for our customers in order to demonstrate our IT infrastructure. We don’t interact very much with local providers because we develop for ourselves, and because it’s more relevant to work with the local representative offices of international brands that promote best practices. This is because we want to attract new customers and keep them. In Kazakhstan, there is little interaction between competitors, and as a result this community of companies is not consolidated.
If you have been to Astana, your plane landed on the runway using our lights. We have provided complete airfield lighting solutions for Aktobe and Pavlodar airports and several helicopter landing pads. We have many references in the telecommunications sector, such as supplying the railway station in Astana with information systems and LED solutions, supplying a Philips display to a 30,000-seat stadium in Astana, a speed skating arena in Astana, and many other sports facilities. Our task is not just to sell, but also to provide the right solution for the customer. We have also taken an active part in the reconstruction of sports venues, such as the Sport Palace of Baluan Sholak, to which we supplied and installed a professional lighting system and LED screens, as well as control and ticketing systems and a fantastic architectural lighting solution. We have equipped 13 of Kazakhstan’s airports with high-technology aviation weather systems, which give real-time weather data in airports for the pilots of all types of planes.
Our profit goals are a little less ambitious than our competitors. However, we are a profitable company delivering significant returns to our shareholders. We are a very cost-conscious company that monitors costs at every level. We do not have many employees in our company, and we don’t spend much of our budget on advertising. However, we promote our products in combination with attractive tariffs to inspire people to buy our services and products. That is how we offer lower prices and maintain the same margins as our competitors. I believe our prices are 30%-40% lower than they were in 2010. Our customers are happy, and our competitors find it very difficult to answer to us. The competition has to choose between losing customers who seek low-cost options, or lowering their prices and losing revenue. As the competition faces this dilemma, we enjoy comfortable business conditions. In 2011, every operator introduced 3G in Kazakhstan. There was a high demand for this technology and its release was well met by customers.
© The Business Year