The Delhi-based company anticipates that digital services within the device will be a significant revenue contributor
Homegrown mobile phone maker Intex Technologies is launching a range of value added services (VAS) or digital services within the device to leap up a level in the affordable smartphone segment in India, which has seen cut-throat competition from mostly Chinese vendors.
The VAS strategy is focused at mostly first-time switchers from feature to smartphone and rural segments. The Delhi-based company anticipates that the VAS categories will drive the growth of mobile value added services in the future. “As of now, our existing digital services contributes 10-15% of total revenues at Intex. With this launch we aim to increase this to 30% by next fiscal year,” said Vineet Singh, head VAS, Intex Technologies.
“By creating a complete digital service ecosystem, Intex is eyeing a long term strategy which will help the organisation build
engagement and loyalty relationships with customers. We want to understand consumer behaviour and get feedback for increased sales and brand value,” said Singh.
According to market research firm Counterpoint Research, Intex slipped to fourth spot in the mobile phone market, accounting for 9.5% of the handsets shipped to India in the third quarter of 2016. In the smartphone segment, Intex was surpassed by LYF and Xiaomi, thus being pushed out of the top five rankings.
“Business value lies in the value added services we offer in terms of the device and the package as a whole. As mobile wallet transactions are expected to go up, we anticipate all these digital services to become a significant contributor to our revenue and margins,” he added.
The company aims to have its own integrated device ecosystem with multiple services such as its own video store, easily accessible healthcare solutions, language solutions, aggregated marketplace, and other utilities and entertainment solutions.
“These digital services will offer integrated functionality within Intex’s handsets in at least 22 Indian languages, and will be integrated at the OS level itself,” said Singh. To bring native language experience to the user, Intex has partnered with players such as Indus OS, which is touted as the number one regional language OS in the country.
Intex’s VAS services will be integrated in its new range of smartphones sporting 1 GB RAM or above, which will be launched soon at prices starting from R4000. “One of these handsets will be launched before the end of this year,” said Singh.
As part of the VAS strategy, the company recently partnered with a Tata Teleservices’ subsidiary, mRUPEE, to launch mobile wallet ‘Intex MyWallet’ for payment functionalities such as recharge, money transfer, shopping, booking train, movie, bus tickets and more.
“We are focusing on necessities such as entertainment and communications, which are the basic smartphone requirements of the consumers today. To maintain the ecosystem, payment will be the central part of all our digital services,” said Singh.
In its second phase, the smartphone maker will upgrade its healthcare services with features such as daily health tracker, live coach, real time chat, exclusive healthcare marketplace. For these services, Intex has partnered with a virtual weight loss coaching platform, Obino. The first phase of VAS expansion will be completed by December 2016, and the second phase is expected to completed by March 2017.
The second leg of its strategy is to add B2B digital solutions with a remittance model, where the company’s flagship distributors and retailers can work as payment agents. “We plan to cater to expatriates and blue-collar segments and help them with money transfers and other transactions through our strong dealer network. Also, this will be anopportunity to Intex retailers to get higher share of the customer’s wallet by offering retail-assisted services of recharges, bill payments, utilities and money transfer,” said Singh.