New Delhi: A little over a year ago the shakeout in India’s smartphone market saw Lenovo India exit the space and, instead, allowing its subsidiary, Motorola Mobility, to keep the handsets business alive. Now, despite an even more crowded market, the Chinese PC major is set re-enter the smartphone space with a new product range.

Motorola was acquired by Lenovo in 2014 from Google’s parent Alphabet Inc.

In an interview with Mint, Edward Chang, head, Lenovo Mobiles division, said the company took a step back to assess the situation in the Indian market, and has now decided to relaunch Lenovo as an online-only brand. Motorola will continue selling phones both online and offline, he added.

While Chang didn’t reveal the product details, Lenovo’s return is expected to be with a new version of its ‘Note’ series of devices, the company’s most successful phones in India. It will not be a one-off launch, and will be followed by more devices, he said.

According to Chang, the Lenovo and Moto brands will together take the battle to its Chinese rival Xiaomi, the market leader in the Indian smartphones space.

The return to the Indian market is because of its potential for growth. Citing IDC data, Chang said India is the only market that offers “double-digit growth" for smartphone makers right now.

“Lenovo plus Moto had a strong presence in the Indian smartphone market in previous years, registering a market share of 9% in 2016 and 8% in 2017," said Upasana Joshi, associate research manager, channel research, IDC India, adding that the current market share was at 3%, as of H1’18. “This has been essentially due to Lenovo losing ground to other China-based players due to reduced marketing spends, poor channel management, weak model portfolios and lack of competitive pricing and delays in new models launches with the latest technology."

Joshi added that Motorola’s models are in low demand and Lenovo products are “gradually fading away" with channel partners clearing inventory. “The Indian market is under consolidation mode with more than 80% volumes coming from the top 5 players."

If Lenovo is to return to the country, it will have to take on the likes of Xiaomi, Oppo, Vivo, Honor and Transsion—companies that have been building their market shares in India steadily over the past few years. Of course, Samsung remains a competitor as well.

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