“In 2018 We Will Go All Out to Expand Our Portfolio”

February, 02, 2018

More than 66% of India's 1.3 billion people still don't have access to the internet. The hundreds of millions set to come online over the next decade will likely do so through mobile devices. Until recently, connecting via mobile had been expensive for most Indians but that is beginning to change thanks to a collapse in the price of data which will further fuel the growth. Sachin Batra, CMO, ZTE Corporation India talks with DT to address market growth and their plans to catch good growth in coming years.

DT: How do you see the overall smartphone market growth in India?

Sachin Batra: India is now the second largest smartphone market after China thanks to a spirited recovery in shipments in the third quarter of 2017, as per research firm Canalys report. As shipments grew 23 per cent year on year in Q3 2017 to reach just over 40 million units, India overtook the United States and moved to second position behind China. The growth has largely been driven by low smartphone penetration and the eruption of LTE.

DT: What are the major challenges for ZTE in Year 2017?

Sachin Batra: I don’t think there is as any challenge but we see it as an opportunity for ZTE being one of the oldest players in the Indian telecom market. ZTE is a technology brand and the company believes in giving a product at the right price to a customer. I would like to mention that India is a price sensitive market, so getting into the right price points where we can target tier 3 and tier 4 cities will hold the key for success in the current market scenario. As once you have a right product with right pricing you start to gain the market share automatically. We treat smartphones as an extension of a user’s taste, personality, and daily requirements. Therefore, with changing times, we will keep changing the features and looks constantly to stay relevant as a brand to our customers.

DT: What are the device launch plans for ZTE in India in 2018?

Sachin Batra: ZTE is a technology brand and the company believes in giving a product at the right price to a customer. In 2018 we will go all out to expand our portfolio. With current line-up of 7 devices and increase in marketing spends for 2018 you will see our presence pan-India in terms of launch of products, and widening into offline space. We plan to launch 3-4 devices every quarter in 2018. ZTE is going to categorize the products into three parts now. First part would be where the brand will have price-sensitive smartphones which would give them a good ground in the budget and mid-budget segment. The second category of smartphones will focus on battery while the third will be around dual cameras. The first device will be launched in January 2018.

DT: How do you support Government of India's 'Make-in-India' program?

Sachin Batra: It’s a great initiative by Government of India & we completely support the same. Now, the obsolete and obstructive frameworks of the past have been dismantled and replaced with a transparent and user-friendly system to build best-in-class manufacturing infrastructure. This program has really helped to create better employment opportunities for both skilled & unskilled workers. I think it’s a revolution for the smartphone industry of India. PM Modi has championed a manufacturing drive under the slogan “Make In India” to boost the sluggish economy and create millions of jobs. We have improved in the Ease Of Doing Business rankings globally and the government is constantly working on  reducing and improving the regulation and associated paperwork, procedures of land acquisition and environmental clearances which will further help in strengthen India as a manufacturing hub. 

DT: What's your distribution strategy currently in India?            

Sachin Batra: We have put in place a strategy that includes both Online & Offline to seek 2-3% market share in 2018. We are aggressively setting up the distribution model in India and have already started working with 100+ partners in limited Geography.  We foresee to expand our channel to 350+ partners by mid of 2018. Simultaneously we are in discussion with online partners like Flipkart, Amazon for few exclusive launches. This year we will also focus to have ZTE’s exclusive stores in the key cities, which will be of its kind and customer walk in to experience all the category of products available in our portfolio.

DT: How do you assure your customer excellent service support?

Sachin Batra: ZTE currently has more than 300 service centers across India. We intend to massively expedite the entire procedure and offer an unmatched experience to our customers by expanding our customer service support team. We plan to set up 500 + number of service center across India in order to bring down the waiting period during after sales from week to days as positive customer experience is our primary objective.

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