Gionee India is at the forefront of the Chinese revolution that seems to have captured them mobile market in India. Known for their glamorous launches and slick products with a lot of focus on offline retail, Gionee has become a household brand name and enjoyed a ton of success in states like Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh especially thanks to its diverse catalog. Recently, we saw Gionee sponsor the Kolkata Knight Riders at IPL 2016 and on the occasion of the same, we sat down with the Country Head & CEO, Gionee India, Mr Arvind Vohra and put him under the spotlight.
Pricebaba – It has been almost four years since Gionee moved into the hearts of India, how has been your experience so far of India?
Arvind Vohra – Having completed three years in India, Gionee aims to become a $1 billion company by end of FY 16. Gionee which entered India in 2013, reported revenues of Rs 500 crore in 2013-14 and Rs 2,750 crore in 2014-15 from the domestic market, a growth of 550 per cent. Gionee also plans to invest 300cr in the next two – three years to set up a manufacturing plant in India. Gionee is also targeting a turnover of Rs 6,000 crore in the current fiscal. The company has set a target to sell 40 million units globally this year, as against 28 million last year.
PB – How has the smartphone market evolved in these four years, if at all in India?
AV – Recent times have seen the growth of the Chinese players at a significant rate. The current scenario states that the smartphone penetration is only about 20-25 per cent. So, even if 10 percent of the people who still uses a feature phone, we have a huge potential to upgrade users. Right now, smartphone penetration is about 220 million, which is just about 20-25 per cent. So, the market is going to be immense. I think this is the first year when smartphone numbers will start crossing feature phones, in value terms it has crossed a long time back. I feel that you still might have about 15-20 percent feature phone users, the balance will move to smartphones and by market size, it won’t be more than 10 percent in terms of value.
PB – How has the influx of several Chinese lead brands help change the market in India?
AV – Increasing dominance by Chinese telecom handset makers and new entrants from that country are putting pressure on the market share of homegrown companies. In 2015, as many as 15 major Chinese smartphone brands stepped into India. During the period, Chinese smartphone majors have not only strengthened their operations and increased sales in the local market but managed to establish their brands. Analysts have observed, Chinese companies are now focusing on providing a user experience in terms of dedicated video and audio content, and utility applications, deviating from their conventional focus on superior hardware features. The efforts paid off for these companies and have resulted in a shrink in market share of their Indian peers, put together. During 2015, Chinese smartphone vendors increased their market share in India to 22 per cent, compared to 15 percent at the end of 2014.
PB – We have seen Gionee been present strongly where the interests of the youth lie. Be it grand award shows, IPL teams, Music festivals etc. What has been your brand objective behind this?
AV – Gionee has always projected itself as a young brand and our goal has been to connect with the young mind and souls of India. We, therefore, associated ourselves with platforms like IPL, music festivals like Sunburn, GIMA Awards, and few others to resonate on the young brand identity. Gionee has done some aggressive marketing and had associated itself with Pro Kabaddi League and GIMA awards. Gionee has become a brand to reckon with and is one of the most trusted brands in India. Gionee recently did the revamping of the brand’s identity and will be focusing on bringing smiles to the consumers by enhancing customer service and experience.
PB – IPL has probably been the most keenly awaited sporting events in India. Tell us a little bit about your experience with Kolkata Kight Riders and life in IPL. How has it been and if you could share any interesting stories during a game or players?
AV – Gionee is the principal sponsor of the two-time IPL winners, Kolkata Knight Riders since 2015. Gionee is a young and dynamic brand which will see exponential growth in 2016. We are proud to continue our association with a winning squad like KKR, which is in synergy with the brand’s attitude of innovation and leading with examples, yet being joyful at the core. The experience has been great and we look forward to be associated with a dynamic team like this in future as well.
PB – In the last few years, we saw great camera phones, sexy phones, big battery phones from Gionee. What is next in 2016?
AV – Gionee USP’s has been in the field of great camera phones, build quality and big battery phones and we will continue to bring innovations on these pillars itself. We will build on the software and hardware of our upcoming handsets keeping in mind our new brand identity of ‘ Make Smiles’.
We thank Gionee India communication team for all their support in getting this interview with Mr Arvind Vohra up.