Sankalp Phartiyal –
Chinese brands took their largest ever slice of the $10-billion Indian smartphone market in late 2016, accounting for more than one in every two phones sold — a growing market share that ate into sales from top-selling Samsung Electronics.
Samsung, the single most popular smartphone brand in India, commanded a roughly 30 per cent market share just over a year ago. That slipped to 21 per cent in November, according to tech research firm Counterpoint, the last month for which data is available.
Meanwhile — thanks to low cost, improved technology and an advertising blitz — Chinese brands like Oppo, Lenovo, OnePlus, Gionee and Xiaomi took a combined share of over 50 per cent, compared to just 19 per cent a year ago.
“Chinese brands are offering quality that is at par with Samsung, at a better price,” said Manish Khatri, who owns two multi-brand smartphone outlets in Mumbai. “Of every 10 phones I sell, almost six to seven are now Chinese brands.”
Celebrity endorsements from Bollywood actors like Hrithik Roshan and Ranveer Singh, along with huge sponsorship campaigns by brands such as Oppo and Gionee of the wildly popular Indian Premier League cricket franchise have helped improve perception of Chinese brands — once derided for their low quality.
“In a country like India, there are two religions — one is
Bollywood and the second is cricket,” said Arvind R Vohra, Gionee’s India head, noting that both avenues have helped popularise its brand.
Chinese brand executives said innovative product features such as powerful selfie cameras with flash, quicker charging and longer-lasting batteries have also helped them thrive in India, one of the world’s biggest and fastest growing smartphone markets.
In the large and ultra-competitive $120 to $440 mid-market smartphone segment, Chinese vendors have more than doubled their market share to 68 per cent, while Samsung has lost 14 per- centage points since November 2015, according to Counterpoint. — Reuters
Sankalp Phartiyal –