Jerry Shen, CEO of Taiwanese consumer electronics company Asus, was in New Delhi this week to launch what is perhaps its most important product for India—the Zenfone Max Pro.
Jerry Shen, CEO of Taiwanese consumer electronics company Asus, was in New Delhi this week to launch what is perhaps its most important product for India—the Zenfone Max Pro. “India is a key market for our smartphone business and we wanted India to be one of the first countries to receive this phone,” he said. In an interview with FE’s Vikram Chaudhary, he said Asus has worked with Qualcomm to make the Max Pro one of the most powerful yet battery-efficient smartphones. Excerpts:
Globally, Asus has emerged as a company that focuses on both design and technology. How has this twin focus benefited the company as a whole?
We have always been passionate about technology. In fact, our corporate slogan is all about innovation—earlier it was “Inspiring Innovation, Persistent Perfection,” and now it is “In Search of Incredible.” Today, our focus is on engineering thinking and design thinking, and this gets reflected in the products we make—which, we believe, are excellent both in technology and design.
You’ve launched the feature-loaded Zenfone Max Pro at a price that surprised many, including perhaps your competitors. What went into creating this phone?
The Max Pro is a result of over a year of data collection and research findings. In this segment, people aspire great design, so we created a metal body; people want numerous features, best camera, good processor … we gave everything we have to this product; we gave it flagship level components and features. In a first, we are offering stock Android and not Zen UI, because buyers in this segment want that. We believe the Zenfone Max Pro has everything the consumer in this segment wants or will want.
More features would mean more load on the battery…
I said there is no trade-off. This phone is also for power users. It has a 5000mAh battery, yet weighs only 180gm. The best selling phones have a battery of 4000mAh and yet weigh more. In addition, a higher capacity battery doesn’t mean you have to put the phone on charge for hours and hours. So, we are providing a fast charger —our 5000mAh battery gets charged half an hour faster than others’ 4000mAh battery. Then there are some simple innovations that make a big impact—for example, the Max Box, an accessory that amplifies the audio two times, and it’s part of the package.
Why did you choose Flipkart as your premier partner and seller for smartphones in India?
Our partnership with Flipkart has been well-thought through. And because Flipkart understands Indian consumers really well, working with them can give us true insights about what Indian consumers need, and in the long run, we can exactly provide that. In addition, Flipkart is India’s top e-tailer and their supply chain efficiency is very good.
How do you view the Make-in-India initiative?
One of our focus areas is to design products for India. So, a part of the journey is to understand the market properly, and understand the service needs of Indian consumers. While we have a manufacturing partner, our current focus really is to give Indian consumers the right products and efficient service. Once we get there, we can think of the next step, i.e., setting up our own manufacturing facility.
And when could that be?
We are here for the long run. We will go step by step. Local manufacturing is a megatrend; it is inevitable.
What is your next major goal, globally?
Though globally, we want to be one among the “Super 7”—among the top seven smartphone companies in the world—the key effort has always been and will always be providing the best experience and best value to our customers.