Gionee, which is actively consider manufacturing in India, will open 12,000 branded stores by 2015-end.
“The feature phone is dead,” says Arvind Vohra, the India head of Chinese handset maker Gionee, going the way of the many devices in the entertainment and music industry. So the company’s focus is on smartphones. Like the ELife E7, which comes with Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, a 5.5-inch full HD IPS display with Corning Gorilla Glass 3 protection. The rear camera is a 16-megapixel autofocus one with an LED while the front has an 8-megapixel front-facing camera. The 32 GB variant, priced at R29,999, gets 3 GB RAM and a 2.5 GHz processor, while the 16 GB one gets 2 GB RAM, and a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 clocked at 2.2 GHz.
Then there’s the ELife S5.5, which the company claims to be one of the world’s slimmest smartphones with a 5.55 mm body, the 5.5 in its name.
This gadget boasts a metallic frame and Corning Gorillas Glass Uni-Body, the world’s thinnest 5.0 inch Amoled Plus screen, the thinnest PCB board at 0.6 mm and 0.4 mm glass rear cover. The GioneeELife S5.5 runs on Android OS, and is powered by an octa-core 1.7 GHz CPU, loaded with a non-removable 2300mAh battery. The camera is a 13-megapixel one with a 95 degree ultra-wide angle. It is likely to be priced at R22,999. All these phones come Gionee’s custom Amigo 2.10 user interface.
For heavy users, there is the Marathon M3, which, as the name suggests, promises over 33 hours of talk time and nearly 33 days of standby time, thanks to a powerful 5000 mAh battery. The suggested price for the Marathon is R12,999. Gionee bills its flagship ELife S5.1, with a metallic frame-and glass body all of 5.1 mm thick, “the sexiest phone in the world”. And the word is that any day now could be the launch of its next big thing, unofficially dubbed the E8.
It is on the back of these and other models that the Chinese company is looking to build itself up. And for a mobile handset maker with global ambitions, its focus is largely on three countries: Home base China, where it is No. 3, India and Nigeria. But Gionee is confident that its thrust on these three markets will be enough to get it to a far higher ranking than its 10th spot at present. Gionee president William Lu is also clear where he wants to be: Not a Samsung or Apple, nor a vendor of cheap handsets.
Towards this end, he has chalked out his own roadmap, which at first glance might seem counter-intuitive: No online sales and no discounts. And continue with the strategy of selling through stores with word-of-mouth publicity leading to, as the company says, a Gionee phone selling every seven seconds.
Vohra is firmly behind this strategy, saying that the company plans to have 12,000 branded shops in the country by December 2015. And the offline push seems to be working, with the company having sold 4 million devices in India. That’s a pittance given Gionee’s state-of-the-art plant in Shenzhen, China, can churn out up to 5 million units a month.
In June, the company will also be unveiling a new identity, for which it has hired Brand Union, part of the WPP Group.
Gionee has also said that for it to actively consider manufacturing in India, it would need policy clarity. “It depends on the (government) policy, we are ready to manufacture in India,” the company’s president said.
– By Varkey Karimpanal