Micromax eyes global share with top-end devices

Written by Reuters | New Delhi | Updated: Dec 14 2013, 09:30am hrs
Micromax, which has become India's No. 2 smartphone brand just five years after selling its first handset a $30 made-in-China model, is looking to go upmarket and overseas.

The unlisted company sold 6.8 million phones in the July-September quarter including 2.2 million smartphones, and is on track to surpass $1 billion in sales in the fiscal year ending in March. With heavy advertising and phones based on Google's Android software starting at $50 almost half the price of a comparable Samsung model Micromax has brought smartphones to the masses in a price-sensitive market where basic handsets still dominate.

Among all types of phones, Micromax ranks third in India after Nokia and Samsung Electronics. The company, which started out selling IT software and telecoms gear, entered the handset market with cheap phones featuring bigger screens, and the capability to use two SIM cards so customers can take advantage of bargains from competing carriers a feature Nokia was slow to match.

Now Micromax is looking to broaden its market by wooing brand-conscious Indians with more spending power. In October, it rolled out a R19,000 "phablet" with a 5-inch screen promoted by "Wolverine" star Hugh Jackman an unusual choice in a country where Bollywood actors and cricket stars are the preferred brand ambassadors. In January, it will begin selling phones in Russia, followed by Romania, where competitors also include Samsung and Nokia. UK-based Fly also sells China-made phones in Russia and Eastern Europe.