Exclusive: Consortium of 45 Chinese Phone Makers Plan India Entry Through AndroidGuruz

AndroidGuruzA group of Chinese manufacturers are planning a stealth entry into India with the help of a startup, which will set up nearly 200 sales and service centers for over 45 different phone manufacturers.

The startup called AndroidGuruz, plans to offer sales, service, replacement warranty and even experience zones for all handsets from China. The Chinese brands will provide 3 months replacement warranty with 1 year support.

“The Indian government has given FDI clearance to over 230 Chinese brands out of which 45-50 are in mobile phone business. The consortium is made up of these companies,” Vivek Deshpande, Asia Support Manager of AndroidGuruz told NextBigWhat on a telephone call from China.

This will give the Chinese phone manufacturers a strong foothold in the world’s second largest telecom market.  Nearly 13 Chinese mobile phone brands have launched in India already. The presence of a brand, will help the Chinese phone makers, gain credibility among Indian buyers.

The Shenzen based consortium wants to set up a franchisee network in the country under the brand. The first store is slated to operational this month at Nehru Place in New Delhi. This will be followed by stores in Bangalore and Thane, next month.

“Initially, the company plans to sell only Android phones, but this will be followed by tablets and feature phones,” said Deshpande in an e-mail.

There will be no franchisee fees or deposit. They state that the only investment one will require is to acquire demo handset samples and have a retail space of 200-300 sq feet.

Battleground India

Though AndroidGuruz plans to bring 45 Chinese brands to India, this fiscal will see the entry of brands of leading Chinese quad-core brands like Zopo, UMI, JiaYu, Mogu and Iocean. They will then begin selling devices by Meizu, OPPO and others later in the year or the beginning of next year.

Some three months ago, Chinese electronics company Konka announced its entry into India and said that it will invest $30 million to sell Android phones in the country. The $3 billion company partnered with Mak Mobility to setup a distribution network.

Meanwhile, Huawei and Lenovo have also been aggressive in the growing Indian smartphone market. Huawei wanted to create nearly 250 experience centers in India by the end of FY13 and sell 800,000 smartphones. Lenovo has launched a range of Android based phones to be sold in India.

American phone maker Apple and online retail giant Amazon have also recently gotten aggressive in India. After finding out that its initial strategy of selling only through premium resellers wasn’t working out, Apple tied up with specialized distribution companies such as Ingram Micro and Redington (India) limited to sell in smaller towns as well. Amazon followed suit by tying up with Redington to sell Kindles in India.

The Market

The overall mobile phone market in India had reached 218 million units in 2012, registering 16% year on year growth when compared to calendar year 2011.

Most of the growth in mobile phone sales has been driven by the burgeoning smartphone market in India which grew from close to 11 million units in 2011 to 16.3 million units in 2012, a significant growth of about 48%.

The top 5 Indian smartphone vendors, ranked based on unit shipments during Q4 2012, are Samsung, Micromax, Sony, Nokia and Karbonn.

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