Micromax, the largest Indian smartphone manufacturer in India, now has big ambitions in the services space. In fact, Micromax co-founder Rahul Sharma says the company wants to become the biggest services company in India in the next couple of years.
Sharma’s YU Televentures initiated its Around YU services platform late last year and now parent company Micromax wants to take this across all its devices. “We will be putting the services platform in over 50 million devices. How many companies in India can do something like that,” asks Sharma.
“Last year was eventful. Our friends from China came, and bombarded the market. We were looking at what was going on in the industry and anticipated that China will slow down and people will come here for growth. That is why we started a M&A division and were busy investing in the ecosystem,” explains Sharma.
Micromax has over the past few months announced investments in wellness app HealthifyMe, shopping service Scandid, travel app IXIGO, Gaana, cloud service MiMedia payment service Transerv.
“How much can you do on hardware in the coming years. The ultimate revolution has to come from the services side. That is what our focus is, that is where we want to be,” Sharma says, explaining why they chose to create the ecosystem.
According to him, the users will find the value in getting all the services on one platform. “Once this happens Micromax will become one of the services companies in India. We are talking e-commerce here,” he says, adding that the services will be a combination of third-party partners as well as companies Micromax has invested in.
It is reliably learnt that Micromax will have more announcements about its services play in the coming weeks.
On how users will differentiate between a service like Paytm and what Micromax is offering, Sharma says: “They don’t own a mobile phone, we do. Diverting the traffic from that platform to this platform is quite simple to do. There will be a huge incentive for a Micromax user, who will also be getting everything on a single platform.”
Sharma is quite bullish on, “leading the whole payment solutions initiative in India”. “Once we have a phone we can integrate so much. It will be much more easier for us that a third party,” he says, clarifying that they will not shutdown competition and will link all the popular payment platforms, giving the users choice.
He says the new Micromax OS, a forked version of Android, will integrate seamlessly with the services making it a hugely disruptive proposition in the market. “As far as I know, no one is working on something like this. We are reaping in the benefits of the investments made last year,” he says.
After being behind the scenes with Micromax over the past year, focussing more on the sub-brand YU, Sharma is now taking a keen interest in the parent company which has seen a lot of top-level exits recently. “As founders we know the nuts and bolts and have built this business. After so much of investment we will like to see success coming our way. Yes, we will be more involved now.”