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Micromax, Karbonn, others are inching ahead of MNCs
M Rajendran, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, March 19, 2014
First Published: 22:38 IST(19/3/2014)
Last Updated: 10:50 IST(20/3/2014)

The new kids on the block are giving the established biggies a run for their money. Homegrown mobile handset brands like Micromax, XOLO, Karbonn Mobiles and Lava are together selling as many phones in India as MNCs like Samsung, Nokia, Sony and LG.

In smartphones, till recently the preserve of multinationals, these brands now account for more than a third of the market. This is expected to touch 45-50% by next year.

Samsung, which did not respond to questions on the subject, remains the market leader in both the overall phone market as well as in smartphones but its dominance is being increasingly challenged by these newcomers.

Their success formula is simple: offer customers smart, top of the line features (matching those of top-end phones from MNCs) at affordable prices.

And they’re able to do this by developing software and features, based on the Android platform, in India and then outsourcing the manufacturing to Chinese assemblers. MNCs can’t match these prices as they have high overheads.

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Manasi Yadav, senior market analyst at tech market tracker IDC said: “These brands (Micromax, Karbonn, Xolo, Lava) already have a combined market share of 30-40% and 50% is not far.”

“The real attraction from a customer’s standpoint lies in the handset, not in the service,” said Vishal Sehgal, co-founder and director, XOLO Mobile, adding: “The market leaders missed this point.”

Today, Micromax is the clear No. 2 in both the overall mobile phone market as well as in smartphones. It is now eyeing a global presence.

Lava International is focusing on the underserved rural market, taking Nokia head on, while XOLO is targeting the mid and high-end mobile handset market, competing with Samsung, LG and Nokia’s feature-rich phones.


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