NEW DELHI / SEOUL (Reuters) – Samsung Electronics Co Ltd (005930.KS) is making a comeback to the Indian smartphone market with a new range of budget devices and an increased online presence, aimed at reclaiming ground ceded to Chinese rivals such as Xiaomi Corp (1810.HK).
FILE PHOTO: A reporter uses a cell phone while working outside the Samsung Electronics smartphone manufacturing plant in Noida, India July 9, 2018. REUTERS / Adnan Abidi / File Photo
Samsung, the country’s only major non-Chinese player, has already started to gain traction, and a surge in anti-Chinese sentiment in India after a border clash in June is expected to provide further impetus.
Samsung jumped to second place with 26% market share in the second quarter behind Xiaomi’s 29%, according to technology researcher Counterpoint, as the South Korean company’s diverse and in-house supply chain helped it. to avoid product delays suffered by rivals during coronavirus lockdowns.
It was in third place with a 16% share in the previous quarter.
Once an unrivaled leader in the world’s second-largest smartphone market, Samsung has lost Indian customers over the past three years to Chinese brands, whose devices are perceived to be of better value.
But India still accounts for some $ 7.5 billion in annual smartphone revenue for Samsung, according to Counterpoint, making it the company’s largest market outside of the United States.
She built what she described as the world’s largest mobile phone manufacturing plant on the outskirts of New Delhi, where she tests new devices and often assembles them for export.
This manufacturing power, and Samsung’s ability to source many components in-house, is helping it gain traction amid the pandemic. Chinese smartphone brands Xiaomi and Oppo suffered from local production issues and product delays due to COVID-19, but Samsung was able to continue delivering the phones smoothly.
Now he’s building on momentum. Samsung has launched seven new smartphones since June, including three for under 10,000 rupees ($ 133.63), including its cheapest Android offering at $ 75.
“The COVID crisis has pushed people to use smartphones for everything from online education and digital payments to connecting with friends during video calls. That’s why these budget phones focus on the mass market, ”said a source familiar with Samsung’s strategy in India.
In May, Samsung partnered with Facebook to train some 200,000 physical stores that sell its phones to use social media for sales and marketing. It also launched installment payment plans for customers and new incentive programs, including one that offers student discounts on certain devices.
A spokesperson for Samsung said the company sees strong demand for its devices in India and expects its revenue to increase from last year. The company does not provide a breakdown of income for different countries.
A DIFFICULT COMPETITION
Competition from rivals such as Xiaomi, which relies on a “ Made in India ” image to beat anti-Chinese sentiment, remains stiff. An agreement between Reliance Industries Ltd (RELI.NS) and Google to make a cheap Android phone could also pose a threat to sales of Samsung’s low-end devices.
Anti-Chinese sentiment is not new in India, where the Chinese have a reputation for selling cheaper products. Samsung, despite a better brand reputation, has struggled to appeal to price-sensitive Indian customers in India.
But better low-end deals and the new anti-China tide – New Delhi has banned 59 Chinese apps since the border skirmish and traders have called for boycotts of imported Chinese goods – could help shift market dynamics.
“Samsung is the second largest smartphone brand in India after Apple by image,” said brand strategist Harish Bijoor. “So a phone priced between 6,000 and 15,000 rupees from Samsung is now very well placed to capture market share from its Chinese competitors.”
The cheapest iPhone in India costs around 31,500 rupees, while the cheapest Xiaomi phone costs around 7,500 rupees.
Ganesh Salvi, a private sector worker in the western town of Satara, Maharashtra, said he bought a Chinese-branded phone for his 16-year-old son’s online classes in the month last, although he did not like to buy Chinese products.
“I think Samsung mobiles are more durable than Chinese phones and I would definitely prefer them if they had more smartphones below Rs 10,000,” Salvi said.
Report by Sankalp Phartiyal and Heekyong Yang; Additional reporting by Rajendra Jadhav. Editing by Jonathan Weber and Carmel Crimmins