In an exclusive interview with ITVoice, Mr. Sanjeev Bhatia, CEO, ZOPO Mobile, India, sharing his business strategies.
Megha Mary- What has been the consumer response towards ZOPO since there are already some established brands in the market?
Mr. Sanjeev Bhatia- Firstly, ZOPO is a well known brand globally. We got accepted by the Indian market quite well, but let me tell you that Indian users are yet to see the best of us. People already know us as the first brand to offer a 365 days replacement warranty on all our devices. We also were the first ones to introduce the Deca-Core processor to the Indian market. Out there is a youth oriented market these days. They want stylish products that can do all their multitasking errands at an affordable cost and ZOPO makes sure to deliver it to them.
Megha Mary- How do you wish to accentuate your distribution parameters, are there any specific strategies that have been mapped out for India and Rajasthan?
Mr. Sanjeev Bhatia- As Rajasthan is one of the big markets in India, it is also a key market for any OEM player.
“A major portion of the Rajasthan market is still into Featured Phones but it is expected that soon it will get converted into a smart phone one. We already have our presence in 33 districts of Rajasthan with a total of 32 distributors helping us in reaching out throughout the state.”
We have a simple strategy to reach out to the maximum people and provide them with the best.
Megha Mary- What is your roadmap for business this financial year?
Mr. Sanjeev Bhatia- We have very clear plans to capture about 8.5% share of the Chinese Smartphone market and to be positioned in the top 5 international smart phone brands in India. We also wish to reach about 1 million devices by the end of the year and thereafter churn 200k devices per month.
“But let us make this clear that we are not focusing a lot on numbers, our goal is to sustain ourselves as one of the strong players in the Indian market for a long term. To achieve this, we have planned a series of product launches that will be different and unique to the users. We already have a good network/channel in place across the country. A team of approximately 300+ channel partners are in action right now in India, as we speak.”
Now, it is time for us to get the right products, at the right place and most importantly at the right time.
Megha Mary- With Nokia launching its best seller Nokia 3310 a feature phone, of course with some changes, what do you think about the feature phone market in India?
Mr. Sanjeev Bhatia- Although we see that people around us are using smart phones but let me tell you that feature phones still hold a very big share in the Indian Market. The revenue of the feature phone might be as less as, about 14% but the market share of these phones is still a whopping 57%.The estimated YOY change of the market is about 24% which means that 24% of the Featured Phone users will convert to the Smart Phone users every year. Thus, the Indian feature phone market is sure to see a decrease over a period of time.The launch of Nokia 3310 was a brave step by Nokia but the facts and trends speak for themselves when they say that this step might be able to slow the process but it will not be able to stop the inevitable.
Megha Mary- Do you wish to launch some new models in the feature phone segment?
Mr. Sanjeev Bhatia- Yes, of course. With ZOPO, we are currently only focusing only on 4G VoLTE high end smart phones. In the coming quarter you will be seeing a series of launches from ZOPO.
“However, with ADCOM, we have a target of releasing 250k Feature phones devices per month in India from June 2017. It will be targeted to satisfy the needs and demands of the still existing huge India Feature Phone market. ADCOM is the back end for ZOPO in India. ADCOM was founded by Mr. Sanjeev Bhatia in 1996 and has been in IT products, peripherals, and recently into mobile division.”
There is no doubt that feature phones is still a big market, but since it is getting converted to smart phones; we have to make sure to get feature phones that are smarter and have a lot of new features and upgraded cameras. We are planning to have a completely different sales team for ADCOM and ZOPO.
Megha Mary- What are the new smart phones planned to launch this year by ZOPO?
Mr. Sanjeev Bhatia- There is a group of smart phones to be launched this year in the coming quarter. These smart phones will be of different criteria like low end 4G VoLTE phones, Dual Camera phones, VR enabled phones, unique UI, etc.
“Our latest product is the Color X 5.5 which comes with the first ever “One Button Access” features. It is supported by a front-facing fingerprint scanner with a 3600 sense. This unique feature allows user to control all the features with the touch of a single button. Users simply have to slight tap to unlock, one tap to go back, double tap to return to home, long tab to open used recently used apps.
Also, as majority of the brands are mostly focusing on 15-20k range smart phones, ZOPO has grabbed this opportunity to launch the M4 and M5 4G Smart phones for 4999 and 5999 respectively.”
Megha Mary- Who are your targeted consumer group?
Mr. Sanjeev Bhatia- ZOPO is for the youth and for the people who like showing off their phones.
“We target the youth as they are the influential users and through them we will be able to penetrate other consumer groups automatically. Also we strongly believe that once you get women believing in your product, you will be successful, as they create a strong demand for any product, and have a very good purchasing potential, whether it is clothing, fashion, phones, food, or any other industry.”
Megha Mary- What has been the growth of Channel in these 2 years of establishment of ZOPO in India
Mr. Sanjeev Bhatia- Earlier, we were focusing on an online e-commerce model. But,
“knowing that the scope of the offline market is still huge we shifted our focus and turned to the traditional offline model. We have made sure that we are present on all top online e-commerce portals just to make sure that we leave no stone unturned to reach out to the Indian smart phone users.”
Unfortunately, the offline model has heavy expenses involved, but the market and end users have still shown acceptance of this model. They still prefer to go to the nearest retailer to get the look and feel of the product and then after complete satisfaction, buy the product. As ZOPO is all for the people, we are making sure to be present on these retail outlets. As for our future plans, it includes targeting the LFRs.
Megha Mary- What have been the channel achievements?
Mr. Sanjeev Bhatia- We take pride in informing that,
“we are the first brand to reach 300+ distributors in a duration of less than 3 months. All our distributors have worked with very renowned brands in the market, and have been in the industry for quite some time now.”
The channel is confident that if things are moving as they are right now then we will reach definite success.
Megha Mary- Does the channel wishes to join the mobile accessories market sooner?
Mr. Sanjeev Bhatia- Very soon we will be announcing our entry into the mobile accessories market as well. Mobile accessories are the next big market which is also the most unorganized one. Our approach will be vey systematic and thus the growth will be steady and quick. But as we can see that the Indian smart phones are being taken over by MNCS, same will happen in accessories market very soon.
Megha Mary- With the easy and cheaper availability of 4G data to the Indian smart phone users, what has been the shift in the sales of the 3G enabled smart phones?
Mr. Sanjeev Bhatia- Unlike the shift from 2G to 3G network the transition from 3G to 4G has been very quick. Jio, making the historical decision of giving free 4G networks to users resulted in the upgradation to 4G being very cheap for users and thus people are welcoming it.
“By 2020 Indian Market will see the deployment of the 5G Network and it’s expected to be adopted largely by 2022 by the Indian Market. By 2021, the population using mobile phones (5.5 billion) will be more than the population has bank accounts (5.4 billion) or landlines (2.9 billion). Now, as the new 4G phones are available at a very reasonable price why would the people opt for 3G smart phones and so we feel that there no scope of 3G phones in the future.”
Megha Mary- What has been the role of Channel partners in the making a foothold in Indian Market?
Mr. Sanjeev Bhatia- The Indian market seems to be moving towards a funnel exit as just 6-7 serious players move ahead and about 30-40 players exit last year.
“The channel partners play a big role in the survival of the players in the market as without the channel support it is very difficult to survive in the Indian market. The planning is implemented by the company while the channel partners follow in the footstep of the company.”
The key goal of a company is to increase its reach where as the channel partners are responsible to make sure that the product is available in every possible corner.
Megha Mary- With technology developing with the speed of light, what would we see next in the AI segment, what are the predictions?
Mr. Sanjeev Bhatia- Technology is developing at the speed of light but the AI segment does not as fast growing as it expected to grow. The adoption curve of AI is less than 1% here in India. For any technology to be adopted, it needs to follow the ‘technology adoption curve’.
The Technology adoption curve comprises of innovators – the first ones to get interested on the new products and technologies. Then we have early adopters – the ones who accept the risks of testing a new product followed by early majority, late majority and laggards that form the evolved portion of the curve.
“For AI, we can say that it is still in the innovation phase. Early adopters are almost NIL especially in a country like India where IoT hasn’t penetrated in all tier 4-5 cities. Apart from that so far, the internet penetration in India is only 26%. Looking at all these figures we don’t see AI being adopted massively in the next 3-4 years.”