There is another smartphone company in town. This one is itel Mobile from Transsion Holdings. We spoke to CEO Sudhir Kumar, who has joined the company from Intex, on their plans for the Indian market.
What are Itel’s plans for India?
India is a very important market for us and as such we have carefully planned every aspect of our operations in the country. We will be rolling out itel in two phases: Phase one will include Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Punjab, Jammu & Kashmir, Haryana, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Uttarakhand while phase two will see itel Mobile entering the local markets in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh. Since our launch barely a fortnight ago, we have already sold more than 3 lakh handsets. We have tentatively planned to roll out phase two by July this year.
In addition to this, we are also looking at building our manufacturing ecosystem in India. The country sits at an extremely strategic location geographically and is almost equidistant to both China and Africa, our other major markets. This will help us in strengthening our supply chain and optimising our operations.
How many devices will you launch?
We currently have ten devices available for the Indian consumer including five smartphones and five feature phones. We are planning to launch 14 smartphones and 14 feature phones by December this year.
What will be the differentiator?
The differentiation for itel lies in its focus on creating a comprehensive, end-to-end consumer mobility solutions ecosystem which includes manufacturing, supply chain, service delivery, distribution channels and after sales service.
We currently have a complete hold on our supply chain and are involved in component production, in-house manufacturing and design of all our offerings. This allows us to make good on our promise of delivering value-drive, quality products that will create their own benchmarks by marrying affordability with functionality.
We have full trust in our product and we are giving a 100-days replacement warranty to our users in order to further reiterate our commitment to deliver the most user-centric services.
What is the market strategy? Online only?
We will be going completely offline with our itel products. We have realised that traditional channel will continue to occupy around 75 per cent of the business. There is also direct conflict between the online and retailer so to avoid that we would be supporting traditional channels.
We already have 200 distributors and over 25,000 retail outlets on board. This will help us in facilitating seamless sale and delivery of itel’s best in class offerings with feature phones priced under Rs 2,000 and smartphones under Rs 10,000.
How will you cash in on the value for money segment?
According to various reports, more than 60 per cent of the country’s population lives in semi-urban and rural areas. Quite literally, this translates into nearly 750 million users who are not yet part of the ongoing digital revolution and would like to participate in the same.
However, the incumbent players in the Indian mobile industry have chiefly focussed on the urban and Tier-1 markets. This is where we will establish a strong foothold – by tapping into this rich, diverse consumer base and equipping them with the tools to bring them on par with the rest of the world in terms of mobile-based connectivity.
The Idea is to develop product specifically for consumers residing in Tier 3, Tier 4 and Tier 5 cities. We are focusing on key aspects of products, i.e. camera and power back up by creating benchmark where there will be very less competition or no competition at all.