KATHMANDU: Two decades ago, an enthusiastic entrepreneur, Kamal Jain, dreamed of replacing galvanised water tanks in Kathmandu with plastic ones. Jain, chairman of Hilltake Industries Pvt Ltd, says, “The dream turned to reality thanks to Hilltake water tanks.”
The company started producing plastic water tanks under the brand name ‘Hilltake’ in 1992. Jain says, “I called it ‘Hilltake’, thinking the name would suit our hilly country. However, it was tough selling products in the initial years, as people were skeptical about plastic tanks. They thought such water tanks wouldn’t last long and the stored water would begin to smell.” But soon enough, the tank’s dur-ability and odour-free storage earned public faith, thereby boosting sales. The company produces water tanks from its two factories located at Balaju and Birgunj. The size of Hilltake tanks range from 200 litres to 10,000 litres, with the cost calculated at Rs 9.50 per litre. The tanks come in three colours: black, green and blue.Certified by Nepal Bureau of Standards and Metrology, Hilltake tanks undergo strict quality control measures. Jitendra Baid, managing director of the company, informs, “Each product goes through rigorous inspection of weight and processing time as well as impact and visual appeal.”The company procures high quality raw materials mostly from Saudi Arabia. With annual sales of around 50,000 units, Hilltake water tanks command 60 per cent of the market share, informs Jain. “It has emerged as a strong brand and Hilltake is the first name on the list of people buying a water tank,” boasts Baid.Some 600 dealers supply Hilltake water tanks across the country. According to the company, consistent quality and after sales services also contribute to Hilltake’s success. Its special construction mechanism protects the stored water from ultra-violet rays, whereas the tanks retain their colour for years.According to Baid, though they welcome healthy comp-etition, unethical practices tend to spoil the market. He alleges, “Regional players that manufacture plastic water tanks seek to capture the market focusing solely on price while compromising on quality.” He believes that most customers are unaware of weight and other subtle aspects of a water tank. He adds, “So, they may be enticed to buy water tanks at lower prices, suffering in the long run.”
Targeting the lower middle class and middle class, Hilltake has also launched water tanks under brand names such as Hill Top, Super Top, Sharp, Polytex and Euro. Other products of the company include plumbing pipes, air-conditioners, gas geysers and water purification system. Its recent product is a compost bin for kitchen wastes.The company is also conscious about upholding its brand name, and promotes it through advertisements in electronic and print media, street campaigns and even sponsorships. Jain informs that as part of their corporate social responsibility activity, the company has also been distributing free Hilltake tanks to government schools and police posts across the country. The company also reportedly arranges for the road dividers to reduce accidents
in the city.