ITL: 68 years in the making

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Dr Ram Buxani, Chairman of ITL Group, with Sota Saito, MD of Sharp ME, at ITL House in Dubai
Dr Ram Buxani, Chairman of ITL Group, with Sota Saito, MD of Sharp ME, at ITL House in Dubai

The group was instrumental in importing one of the best Japanese brands - Sharp - to the UAE.

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Published: Tue 26 Jan 2021, 12:01 PM

As India celebrates its 72nd republic day, ITL Cosmos celebrates its 68th year of business.

ITL Cosmos was founded with humble beginnings in 1953, eighteen years before the UAE would be formed. In 1960, ITL Cosmos was amongst the first to launch a department store in the GCC.

Dubai was just emerging as a market for textiles, consumer durables and commodities catering to the region. It is worth mentioning that such hiccups then are probably unimaginable for most of us today, including lack of basic infrastructure, reliable electricity and scarce supply of basic amenities, such as potable water. But this did not deter ITL Cosmos from establishing itself in the emirate. In fact, it is the first company to have received a decree of incorporation in 1958. Its head office on Cosmos Lane, Bur Dubai, is iconic, and a landmark.

The company began trading in textiles, representing major Thai and Japanese manufacturers. The roots of the group were just forming. Europeans were leading the world with their electric and consumer durable products. The commercial potential and market options of these products (although still in their infancy) excited the promoters of the group. At the same time, Japan was setting itself to systematically borrow the best ideas from each of the major European countries, while simultaneously addressing their weaknesses - Japan replaced Britain's flaky electrical systems with solid, well-engineered products. Japan studied Germany's superb mechanical designs, improved upon and installed them in gadgets and appliances that the average consumer could afford. ITL Cosmos partnered with a promising Japan manufacturer, Sharp Corporation and introduced its products, for the first time, into this region. Today, ITL Cosmos can proudly claim to simultaneously be the only surviving company who first introduced consumer electric and electronic durables to this market, and possibly one of the, oldest distribution partners of Sharp globally.


Sharp's path-breaking achievements date back to 1915 when Tokuji Hayakawa invented a unique thrusting device for a pencil's lead and inserted it into an attractive and sturdy metallic shaft - the innovative mechanical pencil. Tokuji improved upon the product by developing an ultra-thin lead which became known as the 'Ever-ready Sharp Pencil'. The name 'Sharp' was derived from the pencil product when the company was renamed Sharp Corporation in 1970. In 1925, Sharp succeeded in assembling Japan's first crystal radio. Since then Sharp has many firsts to its credit, some of which are:

1953, Sharp became the first company to mass-produce TV sets.

1961, developed the first microwave oven in Japan

1973, The EL-805 COS-type pocket calculator introduced in 1973 was the first product on the market to use LCDs

1978, introduced the first TV in the industry allowing viewers to watch two programs at once on the same screen

1981, the world's first stereo system that plays both sides of a vinyl record

1981, marketed an electronic translator with voice synthesis technology

1982, marketed the world's first PC-TV set. Not only could users either watch TV or do person­al computing, they could also display TV and PC images at once on the same screen

1988, succeeded in producing a prototype 14- inch colour TFT LCD

1989, marketed world's first dual-swing door refrigerator

1991, developed and introduced the world's first wall-mount TV, boasting an 8.6-inch colour TFT LCD screen that was, at that time, the in­dustry's largest

1992, introduced a video camera that replaced the conventional viewfinder with an LCD that users could watch while taking video. With never-before-seen features that included the ability to enjoy their video on the spot and re­verse the monitor in order to film themselves

1992, developed a washing machine with a water-saving hole-less tub. Eliminating the drain holes in the spin-dry tub not only reduced the use of water and detergent, it also solved the problem of mould growing on the outside of the tub being transferred to the laundered clothing inside

2000, Sharp's proprietary Plasmacluster Ion technology giving off natural positive and neg­ative ions using a plasma discharge. This sup­presses the effects of airborne viruses and breaks down and removes airborne mould fungi and other harmful substances.

2004, Sharp's innovative AX-HC1 Superheat­ed Steam Oven used a newly developed super­heated steam generator to 'roast' foods with water

2005, the world's largest when released, Sharp's 65-inch full-HD LCD TV caused a sensation

2008, Sharp released the LB-1085 commer­cial-use 108-inch LCD monitor, the world's largest at the time

2009, the world's only factory (Sakai, Japan) to manufacture 10th generation LCD

2010, world's first four-primary colour 3D LCD

2015, Sharp launched a smartphone that also works as a robot called RoboHon

Today, the product portfolio from Sharp consumer electronics and appliances is possibly one of the widest.

Ease of use and durability are the quintessential product qualities that ITL Cosmos endeavours to associate with when associating with a vendor. Their promise to customers is quality and strong after-sales customer service. It is strictly against the group's corporate ethics and policy to use superficial fancy jargon, and to make unrealistic and false claims, or to feature in overly-ambitious marketing campaigns. To take care of the customer even decades after purchase, on the one hand, and to ensure that its vendors' partners are treated fairly in the marketplace on the other, is the group's priority above all else.

The group's corporate logo embodies the innovation, enthusiasm, and entrepreneurial dynamism that is an integral part of their business. The galactic semblance of the logo underscores their rich heritage with the vibrant swooshes depicting the company's mindset of consistently moving forward in their core areas of business.

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