“We are working to register a strong presence in smartphone segment too”

21-08-2017 My Mobile

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“We are working to register a strong presence in smartphone segment too”

VIDEOCON, THE HOUSEHOLD CONSUMER DURABLE NAME, HAS BEEN INSTRUMENTAL IN TAKING THE MAKING LEAD IN PROVIDING AFFORDABLE YET ADVANCED PRODUCTS TO THE INDIAN CONSUMERS FOR THE LAST THREE DECADES. DESPITE VERY TOUGH COMPETITION FROM THE KOREAN AND JAPANESE ELECTRONICS MAKERS, VIDEOCON HAS REMAINED AMONG THE TOP PLAYERS IN THE MARKET. TAKING AHEAD THE LEGACY OF THE BRAND, AKSHAY DHOOT, HEAD TECHNOLOGY & INNOVATION, VIDEOCON, HAS BEEN SUCCESSFUL IN GUIDING THE CONGLOMERATE TO THE NEXT LEVEL. HE SPOKE WITH HAIDER ALI KHAN AND SHARED THE FUTURE ROADMAP FOR THE VIDEOCON GROUP. EXCERPTS…

Could you please elaborate on Videocon’s journey from Consumer electronics to the Smartphone segment? How has it evolved?

With a vision delight and deliver beyond expectations, in 1985 my late grandfather Shri Nandlal Madhavlal Dhoot founded Videocon, which became the first Indian Company to bring colour televisions in the country. Videocon is now a household name across various categories in the country.

Driven by the philosophy of innovation and customer centricity, Videocon has always put-in efforts towards strengthening its offerings and services. Over the course of time, Videocon has contributed to innovations, adapted to the market trends and skillfully engineered its wide range of products to achieve consumer satisfaction. The Company’s products have been creating a better world for consumers by offering innovative, technologically-advanced products. Since smart, connected devices are the rage globally, we are working to register a strong presence here. The addition of smartphones in the product portfolio was natural, given that connected, smart devices are ubiquitous worldwide, which is where the future lies.

Videocon was able to quickly leverage its manufacturing and distribution capabilities to add smartphones to its product portfolio.

Which is your target group and why did you choose them?

Since India has almost 250 million smartphone users, it surpassed the US in 2016 as the second-largest smartphone market globally. The population of 1.3 billion and a $2.3 trillion economy growing more than 7% each year shows clearly there is tremendous untapped potential for smartphones being manufactured locally. Given this scenario, Videocon’s target group includes young and old as well as urban and rural customers.

The recent smartphone launches cater to the low budget segment, how will Videocon sustain itself against high ranged smartphones in the market?

In the days ahead, Videocon will be launching highend smartphones too. Towards this goal, the Company has established global standard R&D centers in India, Japan, China and Oman. It should be noted that Videocon has three decades of experience in manufacturing various products for Indian consumers. This experience is most valuable in understanding the psyche of domestic consumers. Since the cost of manufacturing within the country is highly competitive, backed by our own R&D centers, Videocon will be well placed to sustain itself against competitors.

What distribution network does Videocon use? Is online a major domain? If not then, do you have plans to make your devices available through a mix of both online and offline channels?

Currently, we have around 20,000 retail points and will double the number by the end of this financial year. While Videocon smartphone sells all of its products offline, tie-ups exist with leading e-commerce portals for selling accessories online.

What new features can we expect from Videocon in the upcoming smartphone category?

The driving force in the upcoming smartphone offerings will be design and product efficiency. Even the recently-launched smartphone Krypton 22 provides best-in-class technology such as VoWifi for a better, uninterrupted voice-calling experience. This feature lets a mobile user retain the same number and smartphone dialer interface when making a call over the cellular network or over any Wi-Fi network. The OTG support and infrared blaster features are other consumercentric features of the smartphone.

Since smartphones constitute one of the fastest-growing product lines, we will facilitate the journey towards smartphones by launching premium, slim, metalbody ones. The Company’s focus would be on meeting customer demands via innovations with the latest software and operating systems. Besides Krypton 22, the recently-launched Delite 11+ has advanced features such as the SOS-Be- Safe feature, permitting users to alert nearand- dear ones and pinpoint users’ exact location in the event of any emergency.

How is Videocon contributing to the overall ecosystem of ICT in India?

This is being done through Videocon’s high-tech manufacturing facilities and the R&D center in India, which are creating world-class smartphones for consumers. Videocon has partnered with Jio in supporting the Central Government’s ‘Digital India’ initiative. Moreover, our devices are compatible with Paytm, FreeCharge and other apps that are a pivotal part of Digital India.

What are your views on GST? How does it help your cause and business?

GST will be beneficial for the industry and the Indian economy by bringing in transparency and boosting the overall revenue base. By forcing unorganized players in adhering to norms, it will help in creating a level playing field for all stakeholders, which is important to ensure the industry’s longterm survival. The new simple structure will help distributors and dealers in managing sales and purchases more efficiently.

Could you please elaborate on the after sales service which you provide?

At present, the Company has more than 1,100 service centers throughout India. These are mixed partnered as well as company-owned. Videocon’s after-sales service is robust. In fact, a scheme has been launched offering 15 days replacement if a smartphone is not repaired within two weeks, besides offering a spare handset of an equivalent or higher model. These initiatives drive higher customer satisfaction and retention.

The Company has dedicated sales and marketing teams to manage the market and the partners as well. Therefore, Videocon’s products reach every nook and corner of the country.

Do you expect the consolidation happening among Indian OEMs to protect the onslaught by the Chinese mobile makers?

No, Indian OEMs have just started their journey in manufacturing, and I don’t see any major consolidation in the next 2 years, as there wouldn’t be any major advantages.

What are your expansion plans for India and do you plan to go overseas?

With plans to be among the top 5 smartphone players in India, Videocon will continue to expand operations. The Company has always been linked with the ‘Make in India’ ethos much before the term originated. As the Chinese economy experiences falling growth, we believe Indian companies could seize the opportunity and fill the manufacturing vacuum by catering to global demand. As the Central Government is offering multiple incentives to manufacturers, including policy reforms, we will extend our cooperation in meeting ‘Make in India’ goals. Videocon smartphone has a major overseas expansion plan, and we are currently exporting in good numbers to the middle-east.

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