Interviewing The Man Behind Carmudi Pakistan
Raja Murad Khan, is the young and energetic managing director of online automobile classified Carmudi.pk, which is a joint venture of Rocket Internet and is a part of Carmudi.com. According to his claims, Carmudi.pk has captured around 35 percent internet advertisements of the automobile sector in Pakistan. The News conducted his detailed interview during his recent visit to Karachi.
Q. What is the meaning of mudi in Carmudi?
A. Actually, this word does not have any proper meaning. It is a venture of Rocket Internet and initially it was started for the far eastern market, including Philippines and Myanmar. Later, it was spread over to other countries including Pakistan. The word mudi was chosen before its arrival in Pakistan, as it sounded interesting. People here in Pakistan, misspell it with Mandi, which too is a nice word with a proper meaning. However, it has nothing to do with the name of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Q. Whose brainchild is Carmudi.com?
A. It was the idea of our Global MD Stefan Haubold, who is based in Germany, where Rocket Internet is based as well. Initially, he worked on e-commerce only. The group has other ventures in Pakistan too, including Daraz.com, Kamyu.com, Foodpanda etc. Foodpanda is a food delivery network, which sometimes works on its own too; otherwise, it gets orders fulfilled from the restaurants and performs as a third party. It delivers the food through other delivery services.
Q. When was Carmudi.pk formed?
A. We had done groundwork in Pakistan in 2013, but the website was formally launched in early 2014 simultaneously in Karachi and Lahore after reaching the terms with the dealers. It has recently completed two years of its formation here.
Q. How do you feel in the presence of a bigger competitor like Pakwheels.com?
A. Pakwheels.com is definitely a senior and bigger competitor in the same area we deal in. However, we are working aggressively and providing better solutions that attract the visitors very quickly. Above 99 percent of the cars in the market are listed on our site, which gives a huge opportunity to the visitors to look at the prices. Mostly people come here to get information before buying or selling their cars.
Q. What is the number of visitors?
A. We have calculated around 2.0 to 2.5 million monthly visitors on carmudi.com out of the total 30 million internet users in Pakistan. However, the number varies in the end and beginning of the year. In December, both sellers and buyers are advised to wait, as buyers want to go for the new model while sellers are not offered a better price. Besides, sales also remain low during Ramazan and they revise their marketing budget and its flexibility. We are getting 35 percent of total online advertisements of the automobile sector.
Q. You also like vintage cars. Which car do you have now?
A. I love vintage cars, but unfortunately, I don’t have much of a collection of cars nowadays. I have kept CJ5 and CJ7 jeeps. Once, my maternal uncle gifted me a 1940 Ford in a very poor condition, so I worked on it with him and after a while it became too expensive. I think keeping vintage cars is a pure hobby, just like any hobbies people have. Find some time out of your routine for some creative and constructive work, for me rebuilding cars is creative and driving them around is exhilarating. These days I have a 1960 Vespa only.
Q. How do you see the automobile industry in Pakistan?
A. Unfortunately, there is no big local competitor in Pakistan in car manufacturing. There is no native venture. But the potential is huge. There are big potential and a market for the local players in the automotive industry, which is not just limited to cars, but auto parts, trucks and tractors, etc. There is a need to impart technical education to the youth on the automotive industry, as automotive manufacturers need technical workers. Market-driven education is a must.
Q. Do you have connections with car assemblers?
A. Yes, we have created links with the manufacturers, as they are our potential advertisers.
Q. How big is your staff in Pakistan?
A. We have two major offices in Karachi and Lahore along with a few small offices in other parts of Punjab. I am based in Lahore, and around 40 people work in Carmudu.pk including myself.
Q. Can you provide actual prices of the deals on the cars? Why don’t you use the bidding tool so that customers get a complete idea of the car price?
A. Actually, we do not have a direct influence on the deal between the buyer and the seller. They have their right to sell and purchase on their price and terms and conditions. We cannot influence them and force for an open auction. Besides, our market is not that mature; we are not at the level of Ebay.com to get the bids, as bidding requires accepting of bid whether you have to pay more or get less than the market price.
Q. What impact of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) do you see on the automobile industry of the country?
A. It will impact several areas of the economy as a massive amount of money will be injected into the system. It will assist the economy of the country in general and car and commercial vehicle sales in particular due to the better road networks and communication. There is a shortage of vehicles in Pakistan, but marketing by the car assemblers is a healthy sign.
Disclaimers: This interview first appeared in the thenews.com.pk. Carmudi.pk does not have ownership of this contents or endorse the views expressed in it.