Chinese smartphone brand Comio to invest Rs500 crore in India
New Delhi: Chinese original device maker (ODM) Topwise Communication will bring its ‘Comio’ brand of smartphones to India and plans to invest Rs500 crore over the next two years to build its presence in the country.
The company, which will compete with the likes of Samsung, Xioami and Micromax in India, aims to capture 5% market share in three years of operations in India.
“We have been an ODM to many players, including those in India. There is a huge opportunity in India and we are keen on tapping that,” Comio CEO Sanjay Kumar Kalirona told reporters. He added that Comio will play in the Rs6,000-12,000 price bracket, which is a “sweet spot” accounting for 35-40% of the smartphone market in volume terms.
“There aren’t many players in the offline market in this price range. Most Indian companies are focusing on sub-Rs6,000, while other Chinese firms are looking at devices over Rs15,000,” he said. Asked how Comio will compete with the likes of Oppo and Vivo that have pumped in crores of rupees towards marketing and promotion, chief marketing officer Sumit Sehgal said the company believes in “smart marketing”.
He said the company, which plans to follow an offline-only model, will focus on distributors as well as build strong after-sales service to enhance experience rather than just buying market share.
“We plan to invest Rs500 crore by March 2019. While Rs250 crore is for marketing, Rs150 crore is for research and development (R&D) and manufacturing, while Rs100 crore is for distribution and other activities,” Kalirona said.
He added that Comio will look at setting up manufacturing base in India after it sets up a national presence. The company, which will introduce 3-4 handset models within a few weeks will initially source devices from China and then third-party manufacturers in India.
Founded in June 2005, TopWise Communication is one of the biggest ODMs in China. It used to make products for many Indian handset makers, including Micromax. Kalirona said the company will no more make products for others as it is looking at building its own brand in India.
India is one of the world’s fastest growing smartphone markets. Driven by increasing data consumption and falling data prices, a huge number of feature phone users are also migrating to smartphones and seek affordable devices.
Players like Samsung, Micromax, Xiaomi and Lava have a number of smartphones in their portfolios, especially in the affordable segment. According to research firm IDC, 27 million smartphones were shipped in India in the January-March quarter of 2017. Samsung led the market with 28.1% share, while Xiaomi and vivo had 14.2% and 10.5% share respectively. Lenovo had 9.5%, while Oppo had 9.3% share in the said quarter.