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Micromax makes a comeback into the Indian market with “In”

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Micromax, India’s long lost homegrown smartphone company, has announced its comeback in the Indian market. The company looks at fighting the Chinese competitors with its “In” range of smartphones. The news was declared by Rahul Sharma, Micromax co-founder, on Twitter via a short video. The video shared by Sharma was a beautiful effort by the company to share its journey which had come to a halt due to the domestic entry of Chinese smartphone manufacturers. 

Chinese companies such as Vivo, Xiaomi, OnePlus, Realme and Oppo entered the Indian market around 2016 and since then the fate and potential of homegrown companies such as Micromax have been uncertain. The Indian companies failed to launch 4G smartphones at affordable prices which could stand in competition with the products brought in by these invaders. As a result, the Indian manufacturers were badly defeated in the Indian market. Despite being the second-largest smartphone maker in 2014, Micromax could not face this competition and was wiped out soon.

Micromax makes a comeback!

Micromax makes its plans to return to its home ground at a time when the Indian citizens are eyeing at “Atmanirbhar Bharat” (self-reliant India). The company has decided to once again hit the markets with its “In” range of smartphones. However, the exact specific details about its first production under the “In” branding are still unknown.

Apart from this, the company has also announced to invest Rs. 500 crore on expanding local manufacturing in the nation. It may also invest a part of this allocated amount in research and development (R&D) operations as it prepares a comeback plan.

Micromax’s re-entry into the market is not sudden as it had been hinting at its return from quite some time. Since the beginning of 2020, the company has been extensively sharing tweets hinting that it is working on premium smartphones. The brand also said that these phones will launch in the Indian market at affordable prices. According to a report by Gadgets360 published earlier, Micromax is preparing itself to launch a slew of new smartphones under the Rs10,000 price bracket. The phone will launch soon with the retail packaging is of light blue colour and sports the word ‘IN’ on top.

Sharma says “The new PLI scheme balances out foreign and Indian players and support of 6 per cent is big and with the government support, we will be able to fight Chinese brands fiercely on the pricing front. Internal accruals are good for the plan and the company will raise money at the right time.”

Industry body ICEA represents the top mobile phone makers such as Foxconn, Lava, Apple and Wistron. The body has said that under the PLI scheme, the companies have agreed to investments for as much as Rs. 11,000 crore and will surpass manufacturing expectations by 2-2.5 times.

What is the PLI scheme?

The PLI scheme, introduced by the government on April 1 in the electronics manufacturing segment, aims to position India as a global hub for Electronics System Design and Manufacturing (ESDM). It was introduced under the National Policy on Electronics (NPE) 2019.

What specifications and details do we know about?

The latest report by The Mobile Indian shows tells us about the potential specifications of the new phone set to launch in the country. The following information has been supplied from the report:

  1. The company may launch two new phones in the first week of November
  2. One of the two phones might be powered by a Mediatek Helio G35 processor. The other phone is expected to feature MediaTek Helio G85 processors. Both of these processors have been used in phones, specially designed for gaming purposes
  3. The phone with the G35 chipset will probably have a 6.5-inch HD+ display and might come in two variants. One of the variants will have 2GB RAM and 32GB of storage while the other will have 3GB RAM and 32GB of storage.
  4. A battery unit with 5000mAh capacity is expected.
  5. The device may come with stock Android out of the box without any added bloatware from the company.
  6. The 2GB variant of the device may have a dual-camera setup while the 3GB variant may feature a triple-lens setup.

Let’s go into flashback!

Years before China dominated the Indian market, homegrown brands such as Micromax, Lava and Karbonn were pretty popular and were known to every individual in every house. But like a dark cloud on a sunny day, the affordable Chinese smartphones with high-end features started to take over their market share. These cheap units saw a gradual and steady rise in the markets which ultimately lead to Indian brands starting to face a downfall in popularity. Companies like Xiaomi, Oppo and Vivo among others took a stronghold of the Indian consumer base. This happened because the Chinese brands, who were manufacturing the phones themselves, brought in products with extremely elite specifications and technology at an extremely low price. It was nearly impossible for Indian manufactures to beat them, thus, driving them out of the market.

The Indian pupils, however, did not die without fighting. Micromax tried its best to put up a fight with its Yu sub-brand. But in spite of multiple efforts, it was not able to match the Chinese standards. Other brands like Lava and Karbonn as the last resort had started focusing on the feature phone market and the entry-level smartphone market. This has supported their survival in the markets.

How influential are Chinese brands in the Indian smartphone market?

Chinese smartphone brands such as Vivo, Realme, Xiaomi, Oppo, and Oneplus have a strong influence and grip over the Indian phone market by accounting for an 80% share in the total domestic sales recorded in the fourth quarter of the previous financial year. All this has led to an increasing symbolic presence of China in the Indian markets.

How has Modi’s “Boycott China campaign” affected the standing of Chinese companies in the smartphone market?

Needless to say, the launch of the “Aatma-Nirbhar” campaign by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has definitely put several market players in this particular sector at great risk. Organizations such as Confederation of All India Traders have joined hands with the government in this boycott by training guns on the Chinese companies and exhorting Indian cricketers, actors or other celebrities to stop endorsing their products. All of the negative publicity brought to their share by the “Boycott China Movement” has led to massive drainage of their profits with their cumulative smartphone market share dropping to 72 percent in the first quarter of 2020-21

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