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New brand ‘iQOO’ set to intensify competition in India’s premium smartphone segment

iQOO will launch its first smartphone in India, featuring Qualcomm's Snapdragon 865 processor and 5G support.

Written by Anuj Bhatia | New Delhi | Updated: January 25, 2020 12:58:45 pm
iqoo, vivo iqoo, iqoo smartphone in India, iqoo 5g smartphone, Snapdragon 865, Vivo iqoo brand iQOO will launch its first flagship smartphone in India by the end of next month. (Image for representation)

Vivo, India’s third-largest smartphone maker, is set to debut iQOO as an independent mobile brand in India. iQOO will take on Apple, Samsung and OnePlus in the premium smartphone segment. The first device will be launched in India next month, according to Gagan Arora, who leads marketing for iQOO, in the country.

“When we studied the Indian market, we found that consumers are looking for the latest innovation and technology in the premium space, Arora told indianexpress.com in an interview. “We think that we can fill these gaps with iQOO, where a clear focus is on experience and performance,” he said.

After China, India will be the only second market where iQOO-branded smartphones will be introduced. But the big takeaway is that iQOO will be an independent brand in India. The brand is headquartered in Bengaluru and has a strong 80-member team. iQOO will have separate service centers.

Must read| Interview with Vivo’s India Director for Brand Strategy

Arora said that iQOO has the potential to become a global brand. Where India fits into the strategy, according to Arora, is the potential to grow in the high-end segment. According to the Hong-Kong-based research firm Counterpoint, India’s premium smartphone segment grew 66 per cent year-over-year in the third quarter of 2019. Apple, Samsung and OnePlus dominate the premium smartphone segment in India.

iqoo, vivo iqoo, iqoo smartphone in India, iqoo 5g smartphone, Snapdragon 865, Vivo iqoo brand Arora, who was previously with Foodpanda, looks after marketing for BBK Electronics’s iQOO. (Image credit: Anuj Bhatia/Indian Express)

Arora said iQOO will launch its first flagship smartphone in India by the end of next month. Although Arora did not disclose too many details, he did say that the device will be India’s first 5G smartphone. The handset will be powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 865 processor and will come in two variants: one model will support 5G networks and another variant will only support 4G LTE. The upcoming smartphone will be sold online and not through Vivo’s sales channels.

Without revealing the name, price and availability, Arora hinted that the mysterious smartphone will see its global launch in India. Arora made it clear that iQOO will compete with Vivo in India’s smartphone market.

Of lately, Chinese handset makers are creating new brands in order to capture India’s huge smartphone market. Just recently, Xiaomi announced that it was spinning off Poco as an independent brand. Oppo’s spin-off brand Realme has seen a huge success in India, which is headed by Madhav Sheth. Oppo, Vivo and OnePlus are owned by the same Chinese company called BBK Electronics.

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