The latest smartphone entrant in the Indian market, LeEco — the Chinese Internet company formerly called LeTv — sees itself in the top-three companies for smartphones in India by the end of this year.
On a high after the first flash sales of its Rs 10,999 Le 1s smartphone, Atul Jain, COO of Smart Electronics Business, LeEco India, told IndianExpress.com: “In India, we want to be among the top-three smartphone brands in the next one year. I think this is a pretty aggressive target. But going by how things are changing in the tech world, I am not really worried about whether we will be able to achieve this or not.”
The company was launched last year in China, and has already sold over 4 million smartphones and 3 million televisions in its home market. “We are the number 1 online brand in China,” Jain said. The company aims to be the number 1 in the online business in India too within six months. “But for now we will stick to Flipkart as our exclusive online partner. Our long term goal is to have an offline presence through our own stores and partners.”
The big differentiator for the company will be its four pronged offering of devices, content, cloud and platform. “The devices are just the first part of our ecosystem. There are many device companies, but the devices are moving to a zero-profit zone. We are also selling in those ranges and our bill of costs is public. Any player who is limited to devices will eventually find the going tough.”
LeEco is certain that there is no money to be made by being a pure device player. “The era of making only devices is gone. If you think you are a pure devices player in a certain segment, the hyper competition will mean you are soon struggling to make any money. It is an unviable option and the only way to go is to offer what the consumer wants on his device,” Jain elaborates.
The company claims the 70,000 units it sold of the Le 1s in its first flash sale is a new record for India. However, he does not see this phone as being its only driver. “The volumes will come from the Le 1s which has a sweet price of around Rs 11,000. The Le 1s will be a big driver for us, but it will not be the only one as we will have other devices coming in soon.”
Jain says since the brand change came about only in January the phones still have the LeTV branding, but the phones being manufactured now won’t have that issue. “We made the change in January to incorporate our new corporate vision. In India, the lead time is almost 12-16 weeks so these phones were obviously made before the brand change was made.”
Stay tuned for a full interview with Atul Jain