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K P Basheer, Chairman at Western International Group talks about the journey of the company and how it has evolved with the changing times

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Published: Mon 26 Dec 2022, 11:06 AM

Tell us about the journey of the group into a multi-faceted conglomerate comprising diverse verticals across the globe.

We were established in 1983 in Bahrain as a toy store. Western International Group had humble beginnings, but grand ambitions. Over the next four decades, the group became a diversified, multi-billion-dollar conglomerate, spanning across a variety of industries. Built on the core principles of integrity, loyalty, and a tradition of delivering world-class quality products at affordable prices, our group has expanded into 12 countries in the Middle East, Africa, South Asia, Europe, and the Indian subcontinent. With its enviable portfolio of successful brands, our group now operates in numerous sectors of the economy, including electronics, retail, household goods, clothing, travel accessories, fashion, footwear, and more. As of today, the company houses more than 20 value-driven, diverse, and own brands, such as Geepas, Nesto, Royalford, Olsenmark, Younglife, Parajohn, Clarkford, BabyPlus, Krypton, Ken Jardene, Epsilon, and Geepas Properties, to name a few. Over 25,000 employees work at our group's business centres in 12 countries, headquartered in Dubai. Currently, it has expanded into a global conglomerate consisting of diverse verticals with business interests around the world, with new brands and divisions constantly enriching the portfolio.

What have been some of the lessons learned along the way?

After nearly 40 years of being in the business, my philosophy has grown to be centered around a few key principles. These are; always be customer-centric— at the heart of every successful business is understanding your customers’ needs and tailoring your services to fill that need, nothing is impossible with a strong team, having successful business values and understanding the synergies gained from teamwork. When facing the harshest challenges, conflicts, and criticisms, it is ultimately the ability of a team to persevere and collaborate together that drives success. Be receptive to feedback. You never know what opportunity walks in through the door. Always be open to constructive criticism, regardless of the source, is invaluable. Being open-mindedly receptive to feedback is how successful people adapt to a dynamic environment. Be prudent with your expenses. Learning how to maximise the utility of every dirham and dinar that the company gets is a valuable skill that will serve you irrespective of how large you grow. Learn from failure. Mistakes are common, but it’s crucial to learn and grow from them. And finally, always strive for more. As the group got bigger, we learned the dangers in complacency: nothing kills a company faster than a lack of ambition.

What is the ethos behind the group and how has it evolved over the years?

As a group, we are committed to serving the needs of the masses, and this defines the group and our ethos. We anticipate the needs of the masses and provide the finest quality by working together as a close-knit and loyal team. With our committed and persistent efforts, we present our customers with the highest-quality products that are worthy of their money.

With a $4 billion turn-over in multi-vertical businesses, what would you attribute the continued success of the group to?

The continued success of our group can be attributed to our commitment to innovate, a consumer-centric attitude, and price competitiveness. In an era where the technological and financial landscape is ever-changing, businesses face pressure to continually improve their products and processes. Whether it’s advancements in customer service, inventory handling, or our product line, Western International Group continues to make steady improvements to always aim for greater heights.

Customers these days don't just want products; they want excellent service, a personal connection, and a quality product at an affordable price. An economic-centered approach has enabled us to provide products that are value for money and satisfy every customer's needs.


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