Chinese manufacturer Coolpad aims to make Dazen brand of smartphones, one of the top three online-only brands in India, even as it admits necessity of differentiation required to make the devices locally relevant.
Li Wang, the company’s global chief operating officer, said Coolpad wants to be a long-term player in India where it plans to begin manufacturing smartphones in a few years. It will, however, face stiff competition from the likes of Xiaomi and Motorola that have struck gold by taking the online-only route.
“We want Coolpad to be a localised brand for the Indian market, which means taking a number of steps to achieve that,” said Wang, who also heads the Dazen brand globally. On Thursday, the company launched two dual SIM LTE smartphones Dazen X7
at Rs 17,999 and Dazen 1
at Rs 6,999which will be available through flash sales on Snapdeal from June 9.
The Shenzen-headquartered company will start with setting up a local operations team including sales, marketing, customer and after sales services for the online brand. “Using innovation, we will give the best user experience through software and apps, through local content such as music and movies,” Wang said. It intends to set up a research and development centre, likely in Bengaluru.
With plans of being a long-term player, Wang said the company will make smartphones in India by using factories of local partners before building its own plant. “If we have enough volume, we would want to build our own factory.”
Before it achieves the volumes, the company will have to fight a hard battle in the crowded and hyper-competitive market where home-bred Micromax, Lava and Intex have exclusive models selling online.
The company, which is among the leading 4G LTE device makers in China, slipped to No. 5 position with a 9.4% market share in China last year from No. 3 with a 10.7% share in 2013, as per International Data Corporation.
In order to revive sales, especially online, Coolpad tied up with China’s second-biggest search engine Qihoo 360 three months ago and has set a target of selling 20 million units this year.
Coolpad now wants to replicate the success experienced in its home market and will also ensure that the upcoming Dazen branded phones are simultaneously launched in China and India. The company will focus a large chunk of its global investments of about $400 million in India, which will be its most important market for 2015.