India takes top spot for Nokia India has become the largest market for the Nokia globally in terms of sales, followed by Russia and Indonesia. Nokia, now owned by Finnish company HMD Global, will be banking on India for its resurgence at a time when the market is dominated by Chinese heavyweights such as Xiaomi, Vivo, Oppo and Huawei. Florian Seiche, the newly-appointed CEO of HMD, told Indian media that the company's engagement will grow manifold in India, especially as more and more mobile companies look at striking partnerships with device makers for budget devices. He said that Nokia, which is sourcing devices in India from contract manufacturer Foxconn′s factories, is keeping a close watch on developments in the market. "Our whole business model is built on partnerships, and we are looking at further engagements. We are waiting and watching," he said, when asked about any possible tie-ups with mobile operators such as Jio, Airtel or Vodafone. Smartphones is another key area of focus for the company, now that it is armed with Google's android system. Xiaomi to invest in ShareChat
Chinese mobile phone manufacturer Xiaomi and its founder Lei Jun′s venture capital fund Shunwei Capital are in final stages of investing around Rs 120 crore ($18 million) in regional language social networking platform ShareChat, founded in January 2015 by IIT-Kanpur graduates Farid Ahsan, Bhanu Singh and Ankush Sachdeva. The app is available on Android phones and offers its content in eight regional languages with English noticeably missing as an option. ShareChat claims to have 1.3 million daily active users and 4.2 million monthly active users and has been on the radar for a bunch of venture investors. Ahsan recently told Indian media that they were on a mission to capture the next billion internet users who will come from the smaller cities and rural India. "This is a young and aspirational set of population which is coming on to the internet now thanks to cheap smartphones and easy availability of mobile data. They are very different from people in the big cities who have been using emails and social media for almost a decade. We want to cater to this fast growing group of users," he said. Bharti Airtel partners with SK Telecom
Indian telecom operator Bharti Airtel announced a strategic alliance with Korea's SK Telecom this week that would allow Airtel to leverage SK Telecom's expertise to build an advanced telecom network in India. Airtel said the partnership will work across several areas, including developing bespoke software to dramatically improve network experience, leveraging advanced digital tools including machine learning, big data and building customised tools to improve network planning based on every customer's device experience. The two companies will also collaborate on an ongoing basis to evolve standards for 5G, Network Functions Virtualisation (NFV), Software-defined Networking (SDN) and Internet of Things (IoT), and jointly work towards building an enabling ecosystem for the introduction of these technologies in the Indian context. According to Sunil Bharti Mittal, Bharti Airtel chairman, this partnership will bring a dramatically improved experience to Airtel customers in India by leveraging the expertise of a company that he claims has built one of the best mobile broadband networks in the world. China's Comio to invest in Noida
Chinese smartphone maker Comio is planning to invest Rs 150 crore ($23 million) in a greenfield manufacturing and assembling unit in Noida by the end of this financial year. The new plant will manufacture smartphones and accessories, including batteries and chargers for the Indian market. The initial plant capacity will depend on the response to the products in the coming months. Currently, the company is sourcing smartphones through contract manufacturing in the National Capital Region (NCR). This year, Comio is aiming to sell about a million pieces and clock a turnover of Rs 600-700 crore ($92-108 million) and is targeting a turnover of around Rs 4,000 crore ($615 million) by 2019-20. Apart from retailers, the company is banking heavily upon social media marketing to reach out to its core audience of youth, which includes collaborating with social media celebrities. It has tied up with 15,000 retailers, 400 distributors and 400 service centres across India as well, besides e-commerce and online portals. Comio is a brand of its parent company, Hong Kong headquartered Topwise Communication. It is a leading original device manufacturer (ODM) in China, and amongst the top three printed circuit board (PCBA) manufacturers. Lenovo-Motorola deepens India focus
US-based Lenovo Group has doubled its manufacturing capacity to 12 million units a year for both Lenovo and Motorola brands. Aymar de Lencquesaing, executive vice-president at Lenovo Group, and chairman and president at Motorola, expects double-digit growth for Lenovo and Motorola phones in India, and is willing to scale up manufacturing capacities if the need arises. Lencquesaing said: “India is one of my top five strategic markets, so we will continue to over index on the focus on investment and to that end, we have recently doubled our production capacity, which will hold us for some time. “We will invest again to increase the capacity of the plant where we manufacture all of our products.” The company has contracted US-based Flex to make phones out of Chennai for both Lenovo and Motorola brands. At over $1 billion revenue, as of June last year, India was contributing a little over 10 per cent to the company's global revenue. Having launched 13 models since June this year, and experienced a 100 per cent sequential growth in volume in the just ended quarter, the company said it was on the right track to regain market share, despite headwinds being seen by other players. Apple supplier Wistron eyes India expansion
Wistron Corp, Cupertino-based Apple Inc.'s primary iPhone assembler in India, is scouting for around 100 acres of land in Bengaluru to expand its facilities for the company. The Taiwanese manufacturer, which began making the iPhone SE in India this year, may use the facilities to supply other brands too. Apple has been a minor player in India, the world's fastest growing smartphone market, largely because its phones are more expensive than those of rivals such as Samsung Electronics Co. and Xiaomi Corp. Apple's devices are particularly expensive in India because the government levies tariffs on devices manufactured outside the country. Its manufacturing in India has been limited to small volumes of the SE, a lower-end smartphone. Apple is in negotiations with the Indian government over expanding manufacturing facilities and opening its own retail stores. The two sides have been meeting regularly to consider the phone-maker's demands, which include exemption from duties on capital equipment, removal of customs duty barriers and the ability to import used iPhones to refurbish and export.