India’s top local smartphone brand Micromax is set to sell phones in the Chinese market.
Micromax did not comment on specific plans for China but said that India’s largest home bred handset maker was striving to be part of the top five club in the world by 2020 .
“The vision will be realised by going to multiple countries, by being not only a hardware company, but a hardware and services company, and hence the experience,” the company said in a statement Friday. “For this, Micromax is open for a financial event over the next 24 months”.
Micromax plans to roll out a single model in China in collaboration with its e-commerce giants. To have an exclusive Chinese mobile phone portfolio, the company will partner with local players to the extent of offering a different operating system, it added.
“Micromax cannot achieve its major objective of being No 5 in the world if it is not in the largest mobile phone market in the world,” said Navkendar Singh, senior research manager at IDC India.
The company plans to generate cash to fund the acquisition of companies that will help Micromax build a network of services to help its phones stand out in the crowd of competitors.“The company can’t do that without more cash coming in,” Mr. Vikas Jain, co-founder of Micromax Informatics said.
At the RISE Conference in Hong Kong on june 2, Jain reportedly said that the firm Micromax believes China to be an important market in future given the size of the phone business in that country. Also to ensure that it is well-equipped to take on the companies like Vivo, Huawei, Oppo, Xiaomi and Lenovo, Micromax would raise additional funds in the next two years, either privately or by going public.
Although it sounds like a plan, for Micromax China may not turn out to be an easy market even though it is the world’s biggest phone market. Nearly 500 million phones were sold in China in 2015 and Micromax definitely believes that it can get a slice of this burgeoning market. While there are a lot of similarities between the Chinese and Indian market – value conscious buyers and same set of companies – the software and the hardware that goes inside the phones in China can vary significantly compared to phones sold in global markets.
Entering China is also tricky for an Indian company like Micromax because the Android phones sold in China don’t have the Google Play store installed on them. Instead the version of Android on most Chinese phones is heavily modified and has many local components.
Melissa Chau, senior research manager with IDC said,
“Along China’s maturing smartphone adoption curve, the companies most aligned with growth are those with products serving increasingly sophisticated consumers. Lenovo benefited in 2013, and Xiaomi (won in) 2014 and 2015. Now Huawei, OPPO, and Vivo, which play mainly are positioned for a strong 2016, These new vendors would be well-advised not to rest on their laurels though, as this dynamic smartphone landscape has shown to even cult brands like Xiaomi that customer loyalty is difficult to consistently maintain.”
Micromax also sells its phones in Sri Lanka, Nepal and Russia. Jain said that the company is also studying the US market, and could enter more than one new country in the next 12 months.
Micromax, unlike its more mid-range subsidiary, Yu, is aggressively focused on selling affordable smartphones. Its more expensive phones are priced around $220, but go as cheap as $75.