Chinese smartphone maker Coolpad is set to enter the fast-growing Indian market this month, selling its Dazen brand of affordable devices online and taking on the likes of Xiaomi and Motorola, which have struck it rich by offering their products on websites.
Shenzen-headquartered Coolpad, which makes its own devices, intends to set up a research & development centre, likely in Bengaluru, and build a phone manufacturing unit in India to cater to the local market as it estimates demand from the online consumer segment to rise exponentially, helping it to become the market leader in the online-only segment.
“We will use the strengths of Coolpad as a manufacturer and innovator and the intent is to build a software and services ecosystem solving needs of our customers that are mostly online buyers,” said Varun Sharma, the newly appointed chief executive officer of Coolpad’s India operations.
“There’s a lot of patented technology we’re building for India, which will cater to the local market and other South Asian countries that we plan to launch in the future,” said Sharma, the former director of strategic brand alliances at e-commerce portal Flipkart.
Coolpad owns about 5,500 patents, including dual-sim, in mobile phones. Sharma did not disclose the nature of the patents that are in the process of being filed locally.
India is rapidly becoming a hotbed for international smartphone makers as they tap the fast-growing market where a large number of customers with high levels of disposable income seek more value for the money they spend on devices.
Xiaomi, which entered India last July, now has a 4% market share on the back of its feature-packed yet low-cost devices sold through flash sales online. The company has since also started to sell smartphones through offline retail stores.
Other Chinese players including Huawei and ZTE have also tapped into the Indian smartphone market, which clocked 20 million shipments in the January to March quarter 2015.
Coolpad has pegged its global fortunes on India where it will sell smartphones in Rs 5,000 to sub- Rs 20,000 range under the Dazen brand. It wants to be among the top three online selling brands in India by December, and No. 1 in the segment within two to three years.
While Coolpad missed the online sales opportunity in China, its rivals, primarily Xiaomi, used it extensively to displace market leader Samsung last year.