Chinese handset maker ZTE is expected to launch its premium Nubia Z7 Max smartphone ahead of the festive season to compete in the fiercely contested smartphone market.
Nubia Z7 Max, priced at around Rs. 26,000, will be the first device from ZTE's premium phone range to debut in India, the world's fastest growing smartphone market.
ZTE will launch the device around September-October in the Rs. 24,000-26,000 range, sources said.
ZTE launched Nubia in 2012 to tap the premium-end of the European handset market. Other devices under the Nubia range include Z5 S, Z5 Mini and the X6.
Sources said ZTE is confident of the Nubia range doing well in the Indian market and helping it grow its presence in the multi-crore open handset market here.
Apart from the open market, ZTE also supplies handsets and dongles to telecom operators.
Launched in July this year, Nubia Z7 Max is a dual sim phone and features a 5.5-inch screen, 2.5 GHz quad-core processor and the latest Android Kitkat operating system (with Nubia UI 2.0).
It sports 2GB RAM, 32GB memory (expandable up to 64GB), 13MP rear camera, 5MP front camera and 3,100 mAh battery.
ZTE has two other devices under Nubia Z7 range — Z7 and Z7 Mini. However, details about the launch of these devices in India were not available.
According to reports, ZTE sold 52,800 Nubia Z7 handsets in 4 minutes and 36 seconds in China through a website.
"ZTE is looking at selling Nubia in India through the online route. Discussions are still on," the sources said.
Of late, many handset makers like Motorola and Xiaomi have chosen the e-Commerce route by partnering firms like Flipkart and Snapdeal to reach customers. This helps them save on distribution costs, which they often pass on to the customers and effectively bringing down the cost of device.
The Indian smartphone market is witnessing strong competition between local and international players, all vying to grab a share of the multi-billion dollar market.
According to IDC, smartphone sales in India grew almost three-fold to over 44 million in 2013, buoyed by affordable devices made by local firms such as Micromax and Karbonn.
In January-March 2014, 17.59 million smartphones were shipped into India compared to 6.14 million in the same period of 2013.
Samsung was the market leader with 35% market share in Q1, followed by Micromax 15%, Karbonn 10%, Lava 6% and Nokia 4%.
Affordable smartphones, especially those priced in the sub-$200 category ( Rs. 12,000), are doing well in the Indian market.