Micromax bets on offline sale of YU phones to boost growth

business Updated: Jun 01, 2016 05:48 IST

NEW DELHI: “It’s time to take YU offline,” said Rahul Sharma, founder of YU Televentures and co-founder of Micromax.

YU, owned my Micromax, started as a mobile company that would sell phones only online.

YU aimed at building an ecosystem of connected devices, offering a lot of consumer internet services, including shopping, payments and healthcare.

Sharma thought users of these services usually bought phone online. But he was proven wrong when YU phones, in a pilot project, were sold in Reliance Retail. It was a runaway success.

So Sharma is now building a pan-India distribution network. By the end of 2017, YU will be available in 50,000 outlets.

But Sharma does not plan to use Micromax’s distributors. “The two brands stand for separate things – YU is all about touching the lives of people,” he said.

In one year, more than 50% of YU’s sales is likely to come from retail stores. In 2015, two million YU phones were sold. That number will at least double with offline retail, Sharma added.

Shirts, shoes, watches and music systems are just a few things that are on its way. “Around YU” is an ecosystem of services available on the cellphone — it allows shopping, booking cabs, and will soon help book doctors’ appointments too.

Since these devices will generate data by being connected to the internet, Sharma wants to use it to “solve complex problems of human lives.” One of that is invention of a prick-free blood sugar detection device, which Sharma’s team is working on.

First Published: Jun 01, 2016 05:48 IST