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Chinese firm bets big on rural India, to launch AC, fridge in 2019

By Gokul Bhagabati
New Delhi, Dec 19 (IANS) After disrupting India’s mobile phone market with brands such as itel, TECNO and Infinix, Transsion Holdings is all set to launch in 2019 its entire range of consumer durables, including televisions, air conditioners, refrigerators and washing machines, under the Syinix brand, the China-based company’s India CEO has said.

The company is currently doing “market testing” in Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh with the launch of a 32-inch LED TV for Rs 13,999 and a 40-inch Smart TV at Rs 24,999.

“The initial results of market testing in Rajasthan and eastern Uttar Pradesh have been very good. Generally in consumer durables, companies offer one-year warranty, but Syinix offers 24 + 1 months warranty.

“We will also soon launch 49-inch and 55-inch smart 4K UHD (ultra-high-definition) TV,” Arijeet Talapatra, CEO of Transsion India, told IANS in an interview.

“We will keep the pricing extremely competitive. Unlike other brands that tend to focus only on key cities, our main focus is tier 2,3,4,5 and 6 markets,” Talapatra said, adding that the company was also planning to set up a research and development (R&D) centre in India next year.

Transsion entered the India market in April 2016 with the itel brand which quickly struck the right chord with the consumers in the county’s small towns and cities who were looking for feature-rich, low-cost mobile phones. The itel brand registered over 200 per cent growth that year.

Encouraged by the widespread acceptance of the brand in the very first year of operations in India, the company launched in 2017 two other popular mobile phone brands TECNO and Infinix, besides its smart accessories brand oraimo. The company also introduced an exclusive after-sales service brand, Carlcare.

While the itel brand is positioned for the sub-Rs 6,000 market, the TECNO brand caters to the Rs 6,000 to Rs 14,000 market and Infinix phones are available in the Rs 6,000 to Rs 20,000 range.

“By bringing smart devices at affordable price, we are democratising technology. As a brand we are trying to build consumer confidence and goodwill. We want our products to go to the masses,” Talapatra added.

According to the International Data Corporation (IDC), Transsion retained its position as one of the top five smartphone sellers in the country as its offline-focused TECNO branded phones grew by 26 per cent, followed by itel with 14 per cent quarter-over-quarter growth in the second quarter of 2018.

The online exclusive brand Infinix grew by 45 per cent, registering an overall 53 per cent year-over-year (YoY) growth for the company.

In 2018, Transsion was included in Facebook and KPMG’s list of top 50 Chinese cross-border brands.

“In 2019, we will bring triple camera phone, better specifications and notch display,” Talapatra said, adding that the company was prepared to move to the 5G ecosystem along with the industry.

Established in 2006, Transsion has made its presence felt in some of the biggest emerging market economies across the world. In 2017, the company sold approximately 130 million devices and achieved revenue of around 20 billion Yuan (Rs 21,000 crore) globally.

“India is our key focus area and we are committed to the ‘Make in India’ programme,” Talapatra said, while referring to its manufacturing unit in Noida.

“We started with CBU (completely-built-up) and moved to SKD (semi-knocked-down). We are now moving to CKD (completely-knocked-down) and by 2019, we will be 100 per cent CKD,” he said.

(Gokul Bhagabati can be contacted at gokul.b@ians.in )

–IANS
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