Vietnamese budget phone maker Mobiistar is seeing a huge growth opportunity in India's thriving mobile market and wants to target the country's 350 million feature phone users to sell its budget smartphones.
The company is launching its phones in the under-Rs 10,000 category, currently dominated by Chinese players such as Xiaomi.
The category Mobiistar is targeting is highly competitive and in the last couple of years, Indian budget phone players such as Micromax and Intex have lost to Chinese companies that have flooded the Indian market with cheap but feature-rich phones.
Asked how the company planned to compete in such a cluttered market, Aniruddha Deb, CMO, Mobiistar, said though competitive, India is also one of the most lucrative markets for mobile phones in the world.
â€śIn spite of the competition, even today, there are almost 50% feature phones in India. Meaning half the population using mobile phones in India are still on feature phones. That pretty much is the potential for any new smartphone player in India. Yes, there is competition but there is enough population who are yet to be converted to smartphones,â€ť said Deb.
Mobiistar aims to be among the top five players in the segment.
Commenting on their growth strategy in the country and the under-Rs 10,000 segment, Deb said, â€śThere are two ways of looking at the under-Rs 10,000 segment. First, who are the people who currently have smartphones that cost under Rs 10,000 and second, the people who use feature phones. So, we have a two-fold agenda, one is to update people from feature phones and the other is to make people who already use under Rs 10,000 smartphones switch to us.â€ť
But even in the under-Rs 10,000 category, there is stiff competition. According to Deb, what will set Mobiistar apart is their quality selfie proposition.
â€śIn the under-Rs 10,000 segment, it is important to understand the consumer need because these are people who are new entrants into the whole smartphone world. The fact that they are under Rs 10,000 means that they have not yet experienced everything about a smartphone. In that sense what Mobiistar is attempting to do is to give our TG the most important need in the under -Rs 10,000 segment and that is quality selfie,â€ť said Deb.
Speaking about competition, Deb said, â€śThere is just one brand that is a competition to pretty much everybody in this business and that is Xiaomi. Xiaomi is the number one brand in India and it is competition to everybody. But we donâ€™t believe in pinning down competition and going after it. We are confident that our offering (quality selfies) is unique and nobody else is giving that in the under Rs 10,000.â€ť
But unlike their competitors, the brand is not looking to spend big monies on marketing.
â€śThere are two ways for a marketer to enter a new country. One is to come in and really enhance your visibility like some of the other brands have done in the past. But Mobiistarâ€™s priority is a strong hold onground and a retail presence. So, our focus right now is how to be present in the tier II, III towns and cities, which is where our core TG is. In this sense, marketing support for us means BTL and on-ground activation. We supplement this with heavy digital marketing. So, our marketing strategies are BTL and digital-heavy,â€ť said Deb.
When the brand first launched in India,it entered the market with an exclusive Flipkart deal. But very soon, the brand managed to go fully offline and as of today, Mobiistar is present pan-India. The company will be onboarding 600 distributors by the end of the year.
Mobiistar has launched five selfie-centric smartphones. The five phones namely C1 Lite, C1, C2, E1 and X1 Dual are available in the Rs 4,340-10,500range.