Get to know

Rakesh Bohra runs the Musalla Tower Mall, in which his WiFi Computer Zone showroom is located. The popularity of the mall is growing at a healthy rate and Bohra hopes to provide stiff competition to the Computer Plaza over the next two years. As his empire continues to grow, Channel Middle East thought it would get to know Rakesh Bohra...

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By  Administrator Published  October 31, 2006

What is your career history to date? How did you end up working in Dubai?
“I started at Wipro Infotech in India, where I stayed for four years.

Then I came to Dubai for three months in 1991, but wasn’t too fond of it.

So I went to Taiwan and worked for Jumbo Electronics before starting my own business in 1992.

The business prospered and we expanded into Hong Kong, China, India and the US, and in 2002 we relocated to Dubai.”

What do you enjoy most about working in the Middle East IT market?
“What I really like about this region is the respect that I command from others in the market.

I have worked at establishing a strong reputation, providing fast deliveries at the latest prices with 10 days lead time.

This gives us the competitive edge over the market.

And, of course, running such a prominent mall in Dubai means that the entire IT market here shows me recognition.”

What do you dislike most about working in the Middle East IT market?
“I don’t like the credit terms in Dubai.

Sometimes you have to chase people for 30, 60, even 90 days for payment.

The Far East is nothing like this, everyone pays on time, so the only delay is in collecting.

Here you have to wait for payment and then for collection too.

This sometimes means that you’re forced to sell below cost price for a quick sale, just to pay suppliers the next day.”

Which IT industry figure do you most admire and why?
“Narayana Murthy, ex-CEO of Infosys.

In 16 years he took that company from rags to riches.

He has made the company, and many of their stakeholders, millions upon millions.

Further to that, he understood the toll that his age was taking on him and he retired when he felt it was right to, which shows that he was never too attached to money.

I also have a lot of respect for Wipro CEO Azim Premji.”

What’s the most valuable business lesson you’ve learnt?
“The most valuable lesson I have learnt is to be wary of fraudsters.

In 1994, a Nigerian businessman asked me to ship him a batch of sample computer products.

I didn't demand payment up-front and sent them straight to him. Of course, he didn’t ever pay the money, he just disappeared.

Since then I lost a lot of trust in the IT industry, especially in the African Market.”

What are your top channel tips for the next 12 months?
“I've always said you need to maximise your profits and keep costs to an absolute minimum just to survive in this market.

Firms in this region need to give less credit to their customers, you can’t afford to give away money unnecessarily, especially to people you don't know.

Doing this will inevitably cause cash flow problems and force you to operate below a sufficient profit margin.”

How do you like to relax outside of the work environment?
“I go to spiritual programmes and spend time with a close group of friends on Fridays.

With age, I have become wiser and developed a deeper understanding of my spirituality.

I have joined a Hare Krishna group and believe that all people are the same inside and that all religions essentially strive to teach the same things, so I like to channel my spirituality in these ways.”

What is the proudest moment of your career to date?
“I’d have to say opening this mall.

I’ve transformed it from a derelict site into one of the most prominent IT complexes in the Middle East.

The mall owners were in need of someone to rejuvenate this place and I was still seething from a conflict I had with the owner of the Computer Plaza after he referred to some of us resellers as ‘you Indians’.

This fuelled my desire to make a success of this mall.”

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