Sunday, February 11, 2007

Testing Through Tehran

Many international brands did a robust business in metropolitan Tehran (population of 12 million) before breaking into the international scene. With a large middle class population and under sanctions by the U.S., when shunned by major companies, market entrants like Nokia, LG and Kia tried the Tehran waters before breaking into the world scene. Nokia was selling phone in Tehran in early 90s. LG Electronics has sold phones in Iran for some 10 years and consumer electronics for much longer, and Kia Motors has successfully sold cars in Iran for about a dozen years now.


Paul said...

Hi there,

I was wondering how you know about this? Just wondering if this is common knowledge or if you happened to read an article?

Masood Mortazavi said...

My claims are based on travel to Tehran and observing the market there. (I have traveled to Tehran in the following years: 1994, 1995, 1996, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006.)

I make these claims based on observing common people in the streets using these brands and products. If you stand on several busy Tehran cross sections and just observe people, you'll know what people are using and what they are buying. I have also lived in the U.S. long enough and know the consumption habits here quite well. I have traveled to most major metropolitan areas in the U.S.

I also make these claims based on general brand recognition.

So, while these are not based on hard statistics, they can be said to be based on common statistical heuristics.

Back in 1994-1996 period, Hyundai and Nokia had sold more units in Tehran than in any large American city. Their brands were not even known in the U.S. but they were very, very well-known in Iran.

Back in 2001-2002, LG had sold more phones in Tehran than in any major U.S. city.

Back in the late 1990s and early 2000s, Kia had sold many more units of cars in Iran than in the U.S. I would conjecture that up to 2002, Kia had sold many more units of cars in Iran than it had every sold in the U.S.

In fact, both Kia and Hyundai had assembly plants in Iran even before they broke into the U.S. market as a brand name in cars.

Paul said...

Very, very interesting. Thanks for adding this information to your post!