With new devices and a focused branding and marketing exercise, the Chinese device maker aims to have a bigger say in the booming smartphone market
Few are aware but the flight of numerous mobile handset makers from mainland China to grab large opportunities in the hyper-competitive Indian smartphone market was initiated by Gionee in 2013. Since then, this Shenzhen, Guangdong-based firm seems to be capitalising on the strong customer demand for advanced touchscreen phones with a faster processor, better camera with improved picture quality and long-lasting battery life at affordable prices. The smartphone maker has been doing really well in
India and it has already acquired a 5% market share; it is now targeting a market share of 7-8% this fiscal. The company has done around Rs 6,500 crore in revenues in the last three years. It clocked Rs 3,000 crore last fiscal and aims at R8,000 crore this fiscal. It intends to launch a number of devices to consolidate its presence in the Indian market.
“Gionee has identified India as a high growth market for the company’s future growth,” William Lu, Gionee president told FE during the launch of its brand new flagship M6/M6 Plus devices at an event in Beijing recently. “In India, we are growing dramatically in the smartphone space and we expect our growth trajectory to continue with the introduction of newer models,” he said, adding the company is targeting the entire spectrum of the market— top level, premium segment, middle segment and the entry-level segment.
“Most importantly, we are looking at opening a manufacturing facility in India not only to support the Indian government’s efforts to attract local manufacturing, but also to support our customers. We are looking at product expansion and focused marketing to strengthen our market in India,” the Gionee president said.
Giving an India-specific picture, Arvind Vohra, CEO & MD, Gionee India said, “There is competitive turbulence today in the India market due to the presence of numerous handset makers—multinationals, Chinese as well as domestic companies, plus there is huge pressure on pricing. But we have been able to sail through and make good decisions. Gionee has created a big mobile buzz in India in the last three years and we are targeting a market share of 7-8% this fiscal.” He added: “India is a big market with a lot of potential. In fact, India is the second largest market for Gionee after China and 25% of the global money resources would be deployed in the country.”
Before we delve into the business strategy being deployed by Gionee to capture people’s minds and hearts here, first a quick look at some of the striking trends from the country’s mobile landscape. As per CMR’s India Emerging Smartphone Brands Report 2016, the emerging brands are gaining momentum rapidly in the burgeoning Indian smartphone market. As per the report, 15.2 million smartphones shipped in 2015 were from emerging brands which is set to double this year at 32.5 million units, representing 25% of the market. Xiaomi, Gionee and Panasonic were the leading emerging smartphone brands in 2015. From a mere 3% contribution in 2013, emerging brands contributed 16% to the smartphone shipments.
According to Faisal Kawoosa, lead analyst telecoms at CMR, the emerging brands do not remain confined only up to giving competition to the incumbents and offering a wide variety of options for prospective buyers to choose from. But these brands are also focusing on offering value for money products, so that buyers could get more and best of specifications at affordable price points.
Recently, Gionee launched its next generation M devices, the M6 and M6 Plus. Both the devices will be launched in India soon. The Gionee M6 and M6 Plus are touted as the safest Android smartphones in the world when it comes to user privacy. They offer extra hardware security over the usual fingerprint sensor.
“For 14 years, Gionee has been dedicated to smartphone manufacture. We value two things: technological innovation and consumer benefits. With these goals in mind, we were dedicating to transforming the smartphone into a ‘smile phone’ with our independent R&D capabilities. The Gionee M6 is the product of this goal and has outstanding performance via the breakthrough software and hardware which will make every consumer smile from their heart,” the Gionee president said.
As a key member of the “Marathon” M series, Gionee M6 has furthered solidified its product DNA—long-life battery. An integrated solution from software to hardware is there to guarantee the device is always powered. The M6 is packed with a typical 5000mAh battery and the M6 Plus has an amazing 6020 mAh battery capacity.
Additionally, 9V2A dual charge chips allow for charging that is faster, safer, cooler and simply better than any other charging technology available today. The Gionee M6 can also be used as a power bank. With a 1.2A charge current, the charging speed is 20% faster than a normal power bank.
Focus on India
To improve brand presence across the country, Gionee has rebranded itself to make it more acceptable to the Indian consumers, Vohra said. “Make Smiles”, the company’s new tagline and the new smiling face logo has been created as an expression of the attitude that Gionee believes in thoroughly—a desire to create happiness for consumers and engage with them in the delightful moments of their lives. The company plans to double its marketing spends to Rs 500 crore this year and most of the spends will go on Gionee’s new re-branding exercise.
“Retail expansion is a prime focus area for Gionee and the brand will be spending heavily on opening new stores. Currently, Gionee, has about 47 brand stores and 450 exclusive service centres and Gionee plans to increase the brand stores to 250 this year,” the Gionee India CEO & MD said.
(The correspondent was in Beijing at the invitation of Gionee)