09-11-2017 Haider Ali Khan
ASUS, THE TA IWANESE SMARTPHONE SELLER, IS AMONGST THE TOP INNOVATIVE COMPANIES AROUND THE WORLD THAT WANTS TO GIVE A VALUE FOR MONEY PRODUCTS TO ITS CUS TOMERS. WITH 2 PERCENT MARKET SHARE IN SMARTPHONE BUSINESS, ASUS AIMS TO CONSOLIDATE WITH NEW RANGE OF PRODUCTS ACROSS CATEGORIES. DINESH SHARMA, DIRECTOR, MOBILE PRODUCT CENTRE FOR ASUS INDIA, IN A TELEPHONIC CONVERSATION SHARED INSIGHTS ABOUT THE COMPANY AND ITS STRATEGIES WITH HAIDER ALI KHAN.
Why did ASUS decide to exit the sub-10K segment of smartphones in India as the majority of sales are coming in that particular domain?
We have ZenFone Max (INR 7,999) in that category which is performing very well and is a core product for ASUS. Also the newly launched ZenFone 4 Selfie available for INR 9,999. We are present across segments as we desire to provide the perfect model that fits each individual’s specific needs in terms of features and price. This stands true not just for smartphones – entire ASUS product range.
What would be the focus of ASUS in India? Is the smartphone business or the laptop market?
Both the businesses are important for ASUS, the smartphone business as well as the laptop business. Individually, both are important business units within the organization and are the two key consumer focused categories. Therefore, our focus on them is only going to strengthen as we continue.
How much market share would you aspire in next one year and what is the current scenario?
The market share for smartphones is close to 2%.
Is it the competition that is bothering you in smartphone business from the Chinese OEMs?
Competition will always remain. The country of origin of the competitors is not critical. What is critical is whether we are able to provide consumers with propositions that are very good for them. Competition will always remain in any business that you want to be in. I don’t think the competition bothers us. We just have to ensure that, from the consumer perspective, we give them the best value for money.
Which are the key aspects in a smartphone that ASUS is going to focus on to create product differentiation?
Currently, we have two series which are very popular. One of them is the ZenFone 4 Selfie series that we launched recently which caters to the selfie needs of the Indian customer. What we brought about is an amazing amount of differentiation, offering the best in class in every price segment. Across price segments, we are providing consumers with the best in class megapixels for high quality photographs, the widest angle selfie. The ZenFone 4 Selfie Dual Cam and the ZenFone 4 Selfie Pro variant also offer a secondary front camera. On the higher end, we’ve got a ZenFone 4 Selfie Pro that takes amazing photographs even in absolute low light conditions and also supports front camera 4K selfie video recording apart from the rear camera.
So, we have offered a range of excellent selfie phones.
But still Oppo and Vivo are minting more money as compared to ASUS, why is that?
Obviously a player with a larger market share could possibly have better earnings. That is a simple rule of business, right? We can’t comment on their profitability though because we don’t have any such data to comment on. In terms of market share, yes they are largest and so obviously their revenue is larger.
Would you be looking upto the premium smartphone segment to offer something unique from ASUS like you did with ZenFone AR? Do we expect some new exciting launches coming fiscal?
There are new products in the pipeline. But, right now I cannot confirm on the specifics of the product that will be introduced in the premium segment after ZenFone AR.
Any launches prior to New Year?
This is something that we can’t confirm at this stage. New products are always in the pipeline. When they will be launched is something that I cannot comment on right now.
You have roped in Disha Patani as the new face for ASUS. How upbeat are you about this new journey and what have been your past experiences with brand ambassadors?
Disha Patani is a good brand fit. She is young, and connects very well with the millennials. Our brand wants to strongly connect with the millennials, and hence, Disha Patani is an extremely good brand fit.
Many Chinese players in the market have associated themselves with sporting events such as IPL and Pro Kabaddi League etc. Have you thought on this ever or you’re planning to do so now?
Sports events associations do help a brand in India. Right now I can’t comment on whether we will engage with one or not. As of now I can confirm that we don’t have sponsorship in any sports events.
Would you like to join the bezel-less, 18:9 society anytime soon?I can’t comment on this.