It was in the year 1997, that Shriram Properties launched it’s first project. Since its inception, the principles of the entire organisation have been based on complete transparency, trust and good governance. We believe in delivering the best quality Services to our customers and there is no scope of ever compromising in these areas. We will continue to be a top-notch real estate developer and the best-governed real estate company in the country, with superior customer service as the key factor. Apart from being a trusted developer in South India, we aim to acquire credibility across the country. Currently we have extended our experience of South India to Kolkata with a large township project and will be looking at PAN-India at a later stage.
The first endeavour undertaken by Shriram Projects was in Bangalore, followed by projects in Chennai, Coimbatore, Visakhapatnam, Hyderabad and now the group has forayed into Kolkata. In 2005, the Indian markets were opened to FDI, and utilising that opportunity to our advantage, we consolidated our hold in the Real Estate Community. Our values and commitment were instrumental in helping us get one of the best partners and reliable capital. Even today we hold close to 3% of the FDI in India, the largest by a single developer. Our focus right from the beginning has been on developing trust and providing customer service. In fact, we were amongst the first few developers who were successful in retaining the happiness and trust of our customers for a very long time now. Concentrating on these two key attributes helped us prosper and create our own niche in the market. In the last 18 years, I can assert with pride that we have never compromised on these aspects.
There are two areas, qualitative growth and quantitative growth. There are probably only a few companies in the country that have grown both qualitatively and quantitatively. The general approach is to make money,not keeping in focus customer satisfaction or the needs of the market. We on the other hand, have always given preference to the market requirement and have modified our stance from time to time based on those requisites. Unlike the rest, we focused on building trust with the customer and that has helped us to grow steadily.
The present Central Government's concepts of 'Make in India', 'Housing for everyone by 2022' and 'Smart Cities' are going to push the demand for housing and real estate in a big way. Even if all the developers in the market, both private and the government, get together, I doubt we could match the demand that will possibly be generated in the next 10-15 years should these concepts take off as planned. The prospects are enormous, and it would help India in reaching great heights of growth and progress.
Shriram Properties currently has projects in Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Vizag, Coimbatore and Kolkata. Our next target is Mumbai. Our forte is providing housing for the middle and upper middle classes. We will continue to provide affordable and luxury housing facilities. The biggest challenge that everyone faces is sticking to the basics and core values. If we change anything, it will only be to become more quality conscious and product oriented. It is during the tough times that one's values and integrity is tested. In the past 20 years, we have survived adverse market conditions – the market went down, funds dried up and prices dropped down. Every developer went through these phases and only the few who stuck to their basics survived. We have been able to position ourselves very well in our core segment. In the current market, taking into account the global exposure of an average Indian, there is an expectation of quality workmanship. Their exposure has pushed the quality for a housing or real estate project to higher standards. And in the process of meeting their quality standards we, as developers gain a lot as well. In our organisation, integrity and honesty are the primary requisites to being a part of Shriram. And while quality is assured by default, we also provide customer service and transparency in all our dealings - which has brought customers back to us again and again. Housing is a very emotional product even today, so unless your service is great, people will not opt for your services. Most companies focus on increasing their customer base and spend huge amounts of money on marketing, whereas we focus on retaining our customers and giving the best service to them. When we come up with a new venture anywhere, 58% of the sales are from reference and existing customers, which is the highest in the industry and that is our unique selling point.