iQOO - a new smartphone brand from China - is set to enter the Indian market with the launch of its 5G phone next month, and will compete in the burgeoning premium category.
iQOO is a sub-brand of Vivo in China but will operate in India as a separate entity. With this, the BBK Group now has five brands -- OnePlus, Vivo, OPPO, Realme and iQOO -- in India.
"We have very bold plans for India. Our first device, which will be launched next month, will feature Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 chipset, is 5G-enabled and has a new battery technology. The device will be best-in-class premium segment and will be competitively priced," iQOO India Director-Marketing Gagan Arora told PTI.
He added that the company aims to sell about one million devices over the next one year.
"We see extreme potential in the premium segment smartphone market in India and have deep-dived to understand the gap that the consumers face in this segment. We understand very closely that there is an increasing demand for performance delivery devices and smooth smartphone experience," he said.
iQOO - which stands for 'I Quest On and On' - will sell its device online initially, and is drawing out plans for offline retail. The company has set up its office in Bengaluru and has an 80-people team.
Talking about manufacturing, Arora said iQOO will share Vivo's facilities in Noida, Uttar Pradesh.
"Our phones will be 100 per cent 'Make in India' and the plant's capacity is geared to support our sales target," he added.
Asked about competition, Arora said "any phone without the iQOO logo is competition. Our focus is on bringing the best experience in the premium category".
India's smartphone shipments in the premium segment (Rs. 30,000 and above) grew 66 per cent year-on-year in the September 2019 quarter, as per Counterpoint Research. OnePlus (35 per cent) led the premium market segment, followed by Samsung (23 per cent) and Apple (22 per cent).
"Existing chinese players are now looking at different strategies to target India premium market which is all set to grow even faster in India from 2020 onwards with an annual growth rate of 20 per cent," Counterpoint Research Associate Director Tarun Pathak said.
Different strategies from brands to target premium segment include sub-brand strategy (POCO, iQOO), dedicated series strategy (OPPO's Reno, Xiaomi's Mi) and services stratgey to gain both mind and market share, he added.
Xiaomi's POCO has also been recently spun off as a separate independent company that will compete in the hyper-competitive Indian smartphone market. Smartphone shipments in India grew 9.3 per cent in July-September to touch a record high of 46.6 million units, as per research firm IDC.
Xiaomi led the smartphone shipment tally with 27.1 per cent share in the September 2019 quarter, followed by Samsung (18.9 per cent), Vivo (15.2 per cent), Realme (14.3 per cent) and Oppo (11.8 per cent).
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