Hum’s online grocery business aims to launch operations in Karachi

LAHORE: In an investor briefing session, Hum Network Limited (HNL) announced plans to diversify into the online grocery business, which will start operating from Karachi this year. The business will be operated by a separate entity called the Hum Mart (Private) Limited, stated the company on Friday.

HNL also plans to launch HUM News in March 2018, expand its digital business and increase its penetration in the international market.

HNL CEO Duraid Qureshi, who was the keynote speaker at the event, while briefing the gathering said, “HumMart feels that the online marketplace will explode in the next two to three years and this is the right time to enter the market. If done properly we will be in a position to ride the wave.”

HumMart will be initiated with seed money of Rs 150 million, with HNL having 60 to 70 per cent share in it. Cash flow positive is to be planned within 2.5 years.

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The company will operate in Karachi at first but will expand into Lahore at the end of the first year.

Islamabad will be targeted by the end of the third year. According to the plan laid down in the session, the company will need an additional capital of Rs 60 million at the end of year one and Rs 40 million at the end of year two.

“The e-commerce market space is competitive, with a number of players already present. It generally takes close to 10 years to be profitable in this business but we are aiming to be profitable in no more than three years,” said a senior manager of HNL while addressing the gathering.

Consumers are opting to maximise their time and energy and HumMart aims to accommodate these preferences, he added.

“Karachi being the biggest market and the most cosmopolitan city in Pakistan, second worst city to drive a vehicle in and having the most number of females in the workforce was the perfect location for us to initiate our operations in,” he further said.

HumMart aims to capitalise on the Hum brand and leverage its TV channels to change consumer buying behaviour which will help reduce its customer acquisition costs.

The company is not aiming to be the most affordable e-commerce business but by focusing to provide value for money through a well-designed website and application, good customer care and express delivery of products within a maximum of two hours, the company can create a niche for itself.

It will also accept payments via a range of methods including cash on delivery, credit/debit cards, jazz cash and easy paisa aimed at further enhancing customer experience.

HNL is currently a market leader in electronic media, competing in a variety of genres. Its broadcasting portfolio consists of three satellite channels, Hum TV, Hum Masala and Hum Sitaray.

In 2014, it launched Hum Films as an independent Strategic Business Unit (SBU) whilst having a separate digital media business unit and a significant presence in print media.

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Muhammad Faran Bukhari
The writer is an economics and business journalist reporting for Profit. He is currently an MBA candidate at LUMS University and holds a Bachelors degree in Economics and Politics from the same university. He can be reached at [email protected] or at twitter.com/muhammadfaran
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