- Thursday, 01 June 2023
- Personal Finance
With the goal of giving subscribers the latest technology in the “easiest, most pleasant and time-saving” manner possible, Georgian telecommunications company Cellfie Mobile is improving its network and introducing new digital products.
“We are already a market leader with our digital and internet offerings. 95% of our subscribers are internet users, compared to 60% to 80% of our competitors. The main thing we are going to improve is the network, both geographically and qualitatively. The demand for internet and digital services is growing so much that all improved channels are instantly absorbed by increased consumption. The first orders have already been placed with suppliers, so our customers should begin to feel the improvement by the end of this year,” Sopo Balavadze, Head of Public Relations at Cellfie Mobile, said.
Cellfie Mobile offers everything customers need in one place: the ability to communicate and share information, learn and develop personally, travel, be creative, have fun, and work.
Today Cellfie Mobile serves more than 1.3 million customers.
Cellfie has won its first Golden Brand award this year in the category of “favorite mobile provider”.
Golden Brand sat down with Balavadze to review the company’s operations in the country.
Q. What will Cellfie Mobile’s contribution to the market be and what new benefits will customers receive?
A. Our goal is to change and simplify people's lives by using modern technology. For example, each of us has dozens of bonus cards to accumulate points in various stores, pharmacies or other shopping networks. These cards are in some cases physical and need to be carried, sometimes digital but scattered across their own applications. In our updated app MyCellfie you can add all such cards at once, thus simplifying your daily routine.
Here is another example: do you want to exercise but can't go to the gym? Our fitness service will help you overcome this problem easily. Do you want to watch Khvicha Kvaratskhelia play? You don't need to look for a TV, you can instantly watch the match on any device through us.
In a word, we want to be with customers and make their everyday lives easier and more beautiful, and help create a better future. For example, in a little while our services will be able to help you learn a foreign language.
Q. What are some recent developments at the company?
A. Today's needs are significantly related to digitization, and require the development of an appropriate ecosystem on the part of the company. No company, no matter how big, can create hundreds and thousands of new digital products. In this world innovations happen every day and these innovations are spread across thousands of small and large companies. Of course, we also create important services and products ourselves, but we are not satisfied with this alone. We act as a platform for digital service providers to create national products, pave the way for startups, and provide access to 1.3 million customers again in order to make life easier for them.
Q. How would you assess the market in Georgia, how developed and ready is it to receive the innovative products that your company promises to customers?
A. As we mentioned before, our customers consume a lot of internet and digital products. The next step is the development of 5G technology. 5G offers virtually endless possibilities for the development of Internet speeds and cutting-edge digital services. This is a matter where the efforts of one company are not enough, because nowadays the number of devices that support 5G technologies in the country is very small. There is a balance to be found between licensing requirements and required investments and expected developments.
Q. Cellfie won the Golden Brand in the category of “favorite mobile internet provider”. How would you describe the brand’s abilities to provide best internet solutions to the customers
A. As you know, in the beginning, the function of mobile communication was actually only voice communication, then SMS was added to it, and later the internet. All three of these services still fit within standard telecommunications, but our company has moved beyond that, as alongside these standard services we help people with education and personal development (e.g. language learning apps), entertainment and cognition, in introducing a healthy lifestyle (fitness app) and, in making everyday life easier and more enjoyable. Today this is a digital reality, and talking only in terms of megabytes is already outdated. Of course, the level of coverage is important for the customer to receive quality service.
- Thursday, 01 June 2023
- Personal Finance
Autolpgas, a liquefied petroleum gas station network in Georgia, has been recognized as the most dynamic company in a survey by the most prestigious and influential business award ceremony, the Golden Brand.
Director of the company Nikoloz Khoperia shared his impressions of winning the company’s first Golden Brand award and reviewed the company’s operations in an interview.
Q. Autolpgas was named as the most dynamic and developed company. What led the company to this recognition, in your opinion?
A. We achieved this recognition through hard work and determination. When you are focused on getting things right, have good foresight and a team that works hard, it makes it easier for the company to succeed. Overall it is very difficult to introduce a new product to Georgia and have it become a favorite of Georgian customers. But we were able to do it, as we have since 2016.
Q. What do you mean by “new product”? Does this mean that liquefied petroleum gas was introduced to Georgia by your company in 2016? If so, why did you decide to bring this product to Georgia?
A. Until 2016, before we started converting cars over to liquefied gas, it was not used in Georgia for automobiles. It was used only for commercial and industrial purposes.
Regarding your question of why we decided to bring this kind of product to Georgia, as you know the majority of imported cars in Georgia are used. Thirty percent of these cars have already been converted to LPG in Europe, and so it was already happening.
We then dismantled these liquefied gas devices and threw them away, because there were no liquefied gas stations in Georgia. That is, Georgians paid the cost of this device when buying a car in Europe and then paid for its removal. We noticed this trend and decided to build liquid gas stations and the possibility of keeping these devices if the customers wanted and run the car on liquid gas, which is much more economical than other types of fuel.
Apart from this, tourists from other countries came in cars that ran on LPG, and they had no way to fill up in our country.
Q. How many liquid gas stations do you operate currently and do you plan to expand?
A. We have about twenty stations. The demand is high, but managing the stations is logistically very difficult. Liquefied gas is a specific product that can have natural losses. It needs a temperature regimen because it is very sensitive to temperature and is not an easy-to-operate product.
Q. On the company website we read that your business started in 2011 with Georgian Gas Import that was engaged in the import of Italian liquefied gas systems, and in 2016 you expanded operations with new stations under the name of Autolpgas. Please review this history for our readers/
A. Since 2011, we have been importing systems for converting cars from gasoline to natural gas and its components. We still import these from Italy. We cooperate with AB Electronics and are their only distributor in Georgia.
In 2014 the price of natural gas and gasoline almost equaled, as the price of oil fell and the price of gasoline went down. But the price of natural gas did not decrease. Back then, approximately 350,000 vehicles were registered as running on natural gas in Georgia. Since the price of natural gas did not decrease, people stopped pumping natural gas and started using gasoline again.
Until 2016 service centers converting from gasoline to gas were out of business, because new devices were no longer being installed. When we started converting cars to LPG, it was very unusual for the market at the time because there was no product awareness and no trust. Liquid gas and natural gas transfer devices overlap. So we offered liquefied gas, which was much cheaper than natural gas and gasoline.
Georgian Gas Import imports gas conversion devices, which we import from Italy, while Autolpgas is a network of filling stations, where customers can fill their cars with liquid gas imported from Russia.
Q. You said that before 2016 LPG was not used in cars in Georgia. What is the situation today since you introduced this product?
A. Many have started the same business. Now there are many companies operating in the same direction and the competition is quite high, which we welcome of course. Our company has a considerable market share and we can say it is the market leader. However, we welcome the fact that many companies are entering this field. The more service stations there are in Georgia, the more convenient it will be for the customers.
Q. What is the reason for high demand in your opinion - the low price of LPG or its almost harmless effects on the environment or human health as a low-carbon fossil fuel?
A. Unfortunately, not many people care about the environment in Georgia. Eco-friendliness is a determining factor in Europe, but in Georgia they choose liquefied gas because of the lower price. LPG is 50% cheaper than gasoline and is also a good product for the car. This is its advantage over gasoline.
To compare, last year 1,300,000 tons of gasoline and diesel were imported to Georgia, while the import of liquified petroleum gas reached 50,000 tons, which is about 4% of the fuel imported.
Q. I guess your competitors also import LPG from Russia, so what makes your company stand out?
A. High quality of product and service is what makes us stand out on the market. There is a difference in everything, you know that. Any product has a qualitative difference. We can confidently say that we offer our customers a quality product.
Q. As you import LPG from Russia, what challenges do the international sanctions imposed on Russia for its invasion of Ukraine create for your company?
A. Sanctions create quite a lot of problems for us, but not in terms of the product, because liquefied gas is not sanctioned either in the world or in Georgia. Nothing comes into Georgia from the side of the sanctioned companies. If the product is not sanctioned, then it is allowed on the Georgian market. We face problems in financial operations, but we ensure uninterrupted product supplies in our market. Our customers will not feel these obstacles directly.
Q. What are the challenges you face in our country?
A. We hope that our government will fulfill its obligations under the Association Agreement signed with the European Union and lower the excise tax on LPG, which will make the product even cheaper for the customers. If we look at the percentage calculations, the excise tax on eco-friendly fuel should be four times less than on gasoline. Now, unfortunately, Georgia is the only country in the world where the excise tax on both types of fuel is almost the same. We hope this will be changed soon.
- Thursday, 01 June 2023
- Global Economy
Betek Establishing Robust Distribution Network to Ensure Wide Availability of Its Products in Georgia
Turkish company Betek is continuing to increase its brand awareness in Georgia by keeping marketing investments active, planning to establish a “robust” distribution network and “push our limits with confidence and dedication” this year, Kerem Yelsal, Export Marketing Manager, told Golden Brand.
“Our distribution network will continue to be our muscle by establishing a robust distribution network to ensure wide availability of our products across Georgia and involving partnerships with our local distributors to effectively reach customers in different regions”, he said, adding that “we also aim to increase our investment in marketing and advertising efforts to raise brand awareness and create a positive perception of the company and its products among Georgian consumers.”
Betek has two brands in Georgia, paint manufacturer Betek and cement-based tile and ceramic adhesive brand Betek Fayfiks. Betek has been in Georgia since 1995, and Betek Fayfiks since 2005.
Both brands have won Georgia’s prestigious and influential business award, the Golden Brand. Golden Brand interviewed Yelsal to find out the company’s plans for the Georgian market.
Q. In general, what would you say about the Georgian market, how healthy is the competition here and how fast is the Georgian market growing?
A. In terms of the speed of growth in the Georgian market, the construction industry is expected to experience a steady growth rate in the coming years.
As a Betek company, we are planning to increase our investments and push our limits with confidence and dedication in 2023. Additionally, the Georgian government has taken several measures to promote foreign investment in the country. We believe that this support further encourages the growth of the industry.
We will continue conducting thorough market research to understand the dynamics, trends, and demands of the Georgian market, including analyzing customer preferences, competitor analysis, and potential growth areas.
Q. How favorable is the business environment in Georgia in your opinion?
A. There are some critical points that highlight favorable aspects for businesses operating in Georgia. Georgia's geographical position as a bridge between Europe and Asia presents opportunities for businesses involved in logistics, transportation and trade.
Georgia has entered into free trade agreements, for example with Türkiye, which provide businesses with access to diverse markets and potential trade benefits.
These reforms include streamlining business registration processes, tax burden reduction, and strong property rights. We believe that these reforms have a healthy effect on our business.
Q. Georgian customers have named Betek their favorite brand in Georgia. What brought Betek this recognition?
A. Since we got here, we have steadily increased our activities in line with the country's dynamics. Through studies on product portfolio, market demands, nationwide availability, and service quality, we have established Betek in its current position.
Furthermore, we recently opened a new powder group – Fayfiks factory for our distributor, supported by Betek, in Tbilisi. With a spacious production floor and advanced quality control systems, the factory ensures that we maintain the highest standards of product excellence. Its strategic location in Tbilisi provides convenient access to transportation networks, enabling us to streamline distribution and reach our customers in a timely manner. This significant investment not only demonstrates our commitment to supporting our distributor's success but also reinforces our position as a leading provider of quality powder group products in the region.
In addition to these efforts, we have consistently invested in marketing activities to raise brand awareness in Georgia over the years. Our primary goal has always been to create a perception of quality among consumers when it comes to Betek, and we have achieved this through our continuous efforts.
Q. Golden Brand is given to the brands following the successful operations of the previous year. Please summarize 2022.
A. Despite the challenges of rising global political tension and tightening financial markets, we have built on our growth momentum and continued to invest in Betek. We have increased our communication excellence with our consumers in Georgia. Additionally, we believe that we have successfully met consumer expectations to the highest level through various sales campaigns throughout the year.
Q. How have Betek sales increased in Georgia over the past year?
A. We achieved remarkable success in our sales performance last year. Through strategic marketing initiatives, strong customer relationships, and innovative product offerings, we exceeded the sales targets, demonstrating impressive growth in our revenue. Our ability to adapt to changing market conditions, deliver value to their customers, and execute effective sales strategies contributed to our outstanding sales results and reaffirmed our position in industry.
Q. What are your expectations for 2023?
A. In 2022, we launched some new innovative products which feature advanced technology. Thanks to this, we increased our market share against competitors and built our brand awareness successfully. We have high expectations for our brand in 2023.
We are also closely monitoring changes in consumer habits and improving our new and advanced technology product line thanks to our strong R&D background. Our aim is to inspire end consumers and lead the market by meeting their evolving needs and preferences.
Q. Please tell us what makes Betek unique and why Georgian customers prefer it?
A. Since its start, Betek has been providing products that are known for their exceptional durability. Our production processes adhere to high standards, as evidenced by various certifications, making us a reliable choice. In addition, our wide product availability, reliable after-sales service, and competitive pricing are key factors that set Betek apart from its competitors, and keep us one step ahead in the market.
- Tuesday, 30 May 2023
- Global Economy
Georgia’s leading company in cargo transport throughout Georgia and CIS countries, Gianti Logistics, is celebrating eighteen years of operations in the country.
The company already has offices in Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Turkey and Estonia, with the head office located in Tbilisi. Other offices in the country are located in Poti and Batumi.
“The success of the company is the success of the team! We are proud of our work and our team and we make it happen, no matter what”, General Manager of Gianti Logistics, Giorgi Makhatadze, said.
Gianti Logistics has been in Georgia since 2005, transporting all types of cargo – gauge, bulk, container load, full truck-load, less than-truckload, heavy, oversized hauling and rigging, specialized equipment, etc.
The company has participated in major regional projects, including the construction of the South Caucasus pipeline, the Shah Deniz project, and SOCAR Azerikimya.
Among these large projects was the delivery of a 640-ton tree from Buknari to Shekvetili and a cafe-restaurant in Anaklia, which is located at the mouth of the Enguri river, where the river meets the Black Sea.
Their fleet includes 100 vehicles of Euro 5 and Euro 6 standards, which are maintained in the company's own service center Gianti Motors.
With their own fleet the company transfers cargo to the South Caucasus, Central Asia and CIS countries, and carries out international transfers to any location in the world.
Golden Brand spoke with Makhatadze about the company and summarized its successful activities of 2022 that led the company to win another Golden Brand award in the category “favorite logistics and transport company”.
Q. Congratulations on winning the Golden Brand! Please tell us what the main success was that made an impression on the experts of the Golden Brand awards and the customers who participated in the survey.
A. It is probably due to the fact that our organization is multidisciplinary and does not have a single specific framework.
However, our team treats all areas with the same professionalism and responsibility.
We undertook a number of impressive and successful projects in 2022. Gianti Logistics shipped seven transformers and accessories: four units of 135 tons and three pieces of 91 tons. We received cargo in Poti and transported it to the town of Tskaltubo in the Imereti region. We placed transformers onto a foundation with the help of hydraulic jacking/sliding systems and turntables.
Q. What are your impressions of the first half of 2023?
A. Successful operations have continued this year as well. Recently Gianti has just finished an interesting transportation project for the oil industry, which included receiving two vessels loaded with heavy equipment and further transportation till final destination.
The longest unit was 47 meters and the heaviest 206 tons.
Starting with preparation of local permits, including mobilization of special hydraulic modular trailers and road construction/modification works all was carried out with our own resources.
Q. Last year Gianti Logistics rejoined the world's largest and most powerful network of independent freight forwarders, WCA World. What will this membership bring to your company?
A. Partnership is important to us. That's why, after a short break, we rejoined the WCA World global network and became part of a great team. Being part of the world's largest and most powerful forwarding team means more confidence, more responsibility, more motivation, professionalism, experience, more logistic possibilities and business opportunities.
We believe that the search for new ways of development and catching up with innovations and latest news will determine the success of the company.
Q. Gianti Logistics’ fleet is equipped with Euro 6 standard trailers. What is the role of "green logistics" in your company’s operations?
A. Seventy percent of cargo in international logistics is transported by trailers. Although road transport is efficient, the emissions produced by the trailers increase the risks of harming the environment.
"Green logistics" means eco-friendly concepts. Its main component is Euro 6 standard trailers. These vehicles are only inferior to electric trailers in terms of eco-community.
Q. In what direction and by what methods of transport are loads predominantly transported?
A. We are capable of transporting all types of cargo, be it gauge, bulk, containered load, full-truck-load, or less-than-truckload, heavy, oversized hauling and rigging, specialized equipment. The diversity of our fleet (such as tilt, containerized and flatbed trailers; low loaders; multi axle hydraulic modular trailers, hydraulic jacks, sliding system and other special equipment for out of gauge/heavy lift cargo) allows us to cope with all types of challenges on land.
As for where we haul, mainly Transcaucasia, Central Asia and Turkey. Recently we have added two more routes – European destinations and rail freight from China.
Q. What kind of cargo is transported for the most part?
A. All types of cargo, except live cattle, but mostly food products and heavy machinery.
Q. How favorable is business in Georgia today?
A. The business environment in the country is good, but when it comes to establishing a transport corridor and hub, a lot of work needs to be done in different directions because we are not logistically ready for this status.
This includes road and warehousing infrastructure, which need to be improved.
Our ports are small and not ready for a large amount of cargo. The capacity of the Caspian Sea ports and the lack of Georgian railway carriages are also a problem.